You've never heard of me, but there's a good chance that you've read some of my work. I'm a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can't detect, that you can't defend against, that you may not even know exists.
I work at an online company that generates tens of thousands of dollars a month by creating original essays based on specific instructions provided by cheating students. I've worked there full time since 2004. On any day of the academic year, I am working on upward of 20 assignments.
In the midst of this great recession, business is booming. At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own.
It's not plagiarism, as each paper is paid for and written to specifications with the understanding that the author will receive no writing credit. But the student does none of the work to produce the paper. There's a serious discussion at Metafilter on whether this activity is wrong or not. I was surprised that there was any question as to the ethics of hiring someone to do your college work, but I graduated over 30 years ago, and the world has changed a lot since then. What you do think? Is this cheating or just another path to your goal? Link -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Jonathan Barkat for The Chronicle Review)