Thursday, March 18, 2010

I paid someone $50 to write this post - AND LOVED THE RESULT!

Our company seeks experienced writers to complete college and university level essays, research papers, book reports and business plans. The job can be done from home or other remote location. The orders are completed and sent over the Internet. ...Most of our part-time writers receive from $500 to $1,500 per month. Our full-time writers receive about $1,500-$2,500 per month.

Interested? Apply here. I like to think that at one point in my life I was probably one of the top research paper writers - artists - in the university system. I liked the research and loved the writing. Just as importantly, research papers meant no math problems, no formulas or proofs. No science experiments conducted with burners and goggles, no interpreting the results. When people in the mid-1990s wrote about Americans falling behind the rest of the civilized world in math and science proficiency, they could have published a picture of my face as I stared at the board in my trigonometry class, confusion and fear mixing with an occasional tear.

But papers, I could write papers. No matter the topic, from the Exxon Valdez catastrophe to Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican convention, I could write 5,000 words and come out the other side with an A and a written compliment from the professor. I loved classes that had few exams, unless those tests involved writing essays for the final.

My skills peaked during my senior year at St. John's, when nearly every class I took required research papers instead of exams. The summer before that final year at SJU, I bought a word processor, the type of machine a collector might pay a buck for at a garage sale today, something to show the kids: "Look at what people used to write on!" In my last two semesters of college, I sat in front of that word processor for hundreds of hours, fueled by Dr Pepper and Zevon, typing away on projects that seemed to take hundreds of hours to print.

I often saved the writing for the two nights before the project was due, bringing together the mountain of information I'd found during my research and spinning it into a coherent paper. Thankfully, I even found a math class that allowed me to utilize these skills. After flaming out my first two years in trigonometry and calculus - an academic adviser provided horrifically wrong information about math requirements - I discovered Math Theory at St. John's. We solved a few problems here and there. Mostly we wrote essays about great mathematicians and the problems that vexed them for hundreds of years. I didn't understand their arguments or how they came up with their solutions, but I could write a biography about them or summarize their struggles.

All that bragging aside, I would return to the world of airport wheelchair attendants before I'd become a writer who types up term papers or book reports for college kids desperate for a 10-page submission on the effects of Brown v. Board of Education. Ghostwriting a book for a former Major League Baseball player who was once a heroin addict would be one thing; doing that same thing for a freshman who is too lazy to research or too incompetent to write is completely different.

Yet obviously the countless companies that offer up these services have a big pool of talent at their disposal. Especially in today's publishing world, many writers will take what they can get, even if the credit for the 12-page paper about the Battle of the Bulge will go to a business major who spent Friday night slipping roofies to co-eds., which posted the ad above, makes sure that the work of its writers is not plagiarized, so students can safely assume that the paper that's not their own hasn't been stolen from an unknown third party. The company does have its morals, after all. In fact, the company announced on December 16 of this past year, "Our engineers have upgraded the anti-plagiarism engine used to check completed projects. From now on all written assignments will be tested by the world's most respected anti-plagiarism resource." Again, it's all about the ethics. Plagiarism is not allowed, but please hurry up with that five-page essay on Anne Frank's diary, we need to get it emailed to the college kid by Wednesday.

Obviously, having to work for this company would be a blow to the self-esteem for many writers, though that's probably cushioned by the money that helps pay the rent and buy groceries. But how about the engineers who have put their education and genius to work coming up with an anti-plagiarism "engine." It's a noble mission, except for the fact a company that sells term papers and book reports to college kids for fees is using the creation. It's like a scientist who worked on a nuclear power plant turning around and helping a terrorist construct a nuke.

Here's a site that rates some of the top term paper-writing websites out there, so that the customer can do the proper research before hiring someone to write a paper. Seems like a lot of work to do for someone who's searching for a way out of research.

Capitalism lives on the site, but irony has died. In a note to students, using the type of wording you might normally read on a website warning about email scams and Nigerian princes, the site states, "If a site is charging more or less than the prices that are mentioned here then BEWARE as you are being cheated."

You can't con a conman, and you can't cheat a cheater.

Other warnings: "Learn about things that can lead you to unimaginable and disastrous results."

Disastrous, sure. Unimaginable? Is it that hard to imagine what might happen if a professor discovered a student bought a book report online? This lack of imagination might be part of the original problem for the students.

The site also says, "Never underestimate your teacher (They have various tricks for checking authenticity of the research done.)"

Those tricky teachers and their conniving ways of recognizing work that's been stolen.

The site ranks the top three places for students to buy papers. In higher education, it's the third most-prestigious ranking, coming in just ahead of U.S. News and World Report's Best College Rankings, but still behind Playboy's Top Party Schools for 2009. A man who may or may not be named James writes, "Top term papers guide sure is a life saver. Thanks to your editors, I am always able to get the paper that I am looking for. You are doing a great job." It sounds like a statement written by a robot or an ad representative. No word on whether James wrote the sentence himself or paid $10 for a pre-written testimonial.

So who grabbed the top spot in Top Term Paper Sites' annual rankings? Perfect Term Papers.

In the introduction, the site welcomes the lazy and intoxicated: "As if a job and social life are not enough to drive you insane while you try to pass college! Add to this the burden of term papers, which are sometimes designed to make you tear your hair out in frustration."

Who can the website help? If a student identifies with any of these problems, Perfect Term Papers - which brags that it does provides simply perfect term papers (in case it wasn't obvious before) - is there to help:

"How difficult is it to begin writing term paper/research paper when an evening out is equally important. How difficult is it to turn in research paper tomorrow morning when you might drop-dead the next minute due to exhaustion."*

* Should a student trust a site that has a glaring typo in its warnings? A research paper, it should read. A research paper. Plus, drop-dead wouldn't need a hyphen. My application for Perfect Term Papers is now sailing through cyberspace.

Perhaps owing to the difficult economic times confronting the country, Perfect Term Papers has revised its rates for March 2010. If you need a paper the next morning, it's going to be $34.95 per page, while it's only $7.95 per page if you need it a week from now.

According to Top Term Paper sites, Perfect Term Papers gets approximately 18,000 hits a day and scores a perfect 10 in customer rating. In addition, they have no instances of plagiarism. Perhaps their engineers have also built the perfect anti-plagiarism engine. Every paper is custom-written. That's the type of personal touch that so many people say is missing in today's cutthroat business world.

Perfect Term Papers provides a sample of its work, a short paper on Quintilian, who is "known as one of the gigantic of rhetoric and is measured by some to be the foremost educational reformer." The entire sample is so bizarrely written that it made me briefly wonder if the entire website wasn't a parody ("gigantic of rhetoric?"). The site uses as its sample piece a research paper that is so poorly written that an average high school freshman would demand his money back. Another line from the paper: "But from the start, Quintilian demonstrates that he is concerned with young children, although he expects to attain them through their teachers, tutors, and parents." I'm not sure what that line means, though it sounds less like a description of a famous reformer and more like a plot for a movie about human trafficking.

"His present work is a twelve-volume behemoth not the kind of text with which one student of rhetoric can without problems settle down."

"Yet, in this fraction of the work the illustration are so pertinent and the style so distinguished and yet sweet that the contemporary reader, whose preliminary interest in rhetoric is of requisite faint, is carried along with much less exhaustion than is essential to master most part of the rhetorical writings of Aristotle and Cicero (McCall, 1989)."

Whoa. Again, perhaps this is an elaborate joke from the leaders of Perfect Term Papers, an example of the type of humor they might use when writing a paper for a kid doing research on the famous satirists of the 20th century. Who talks like that, and, more importantly, who writes like that? If a student submitted a paper with those sentences, even the teachers who aren't tricky might become suspicious. And this is the sample the site put up for the public to see. They looked through some of the papers written by the veteran team and said, "There, that one on Quintilian that Jonathan wrote a while back. That was good stuff. Let's put that as our sample to draw students in. Most of them will be drunk when they email us so they'll read it through blurry eyes and won't notice the haphazard sentence structure and missing punctuation." Which ones did they reject as samples?

And this is the No. 1 term paper site on the web, an indictment of the industry and the Internet. If you're going to build an unethical business, at least be good at it. I think Madoff said that.

Delightfully, a disgruntled cheat filed a ripoff report about Perfect Term Papers (she was apparently unaware of the perfect customer rating doled out by Top Term Papers). As I wrote, irony is dead in the world of purchased term papers.

I see something of an opening here. Maybe I can get a part-time business going, butt in on the competition. It's been nearly 13 years since I wrote a research paper, but I think it would all come back to me. Get myself a team of writers and some disgruntled engineers and I could be competing with the big boys. My rates will be fair. The work will be good, but not too good (no need to alarm tricky teachers). All I have to do is shred my last bit of dignity and lose all of my self-esteem. I'll start doing drugs, of course. Somewhere out there is a college student who procrastinated too long or drank too much. They should be able to hand in a paper they're proud of, even if they're unaware of who wrote it or what's even in it.

Watch out, Perfect Term Papers, there's a new kid on the block. Or, as Perfect Term Papers might write it, There's a behemoth not the kind of website with which one student of history can without difficulty settle down. Yet, in this business of the work the words are so pertinent and the style so distinguished and so sweet that the contemporary reader or requisite faint will seek to buy the papers that are rhetorically like the writings of Aristotle and Socrates.

Am I hired?


Dad said...

Gee with the right website for his players Clem might still be coaching the Gophers!

Shawn Fury said...

That's a great point. They assure confidentiality, unlike tutors.