A few weeks ago I demonstrated some online searching strategies for my Writing 123 students. One of the points I also try to make in the demo is how the internet paper mills have made a nice business for themselves by catering to the desparation of students in their most critical hours of need (i.e., 48 hours before a paper is due…), and accordingly I show them how easy/expensive it is to order a custom-written "model paper" from places like AffordableResearchPapers.com. I go far enough into the process to actually fill out the order form and demonstrate that students don't need much more than some basic computing skills and a high-limit credit card to become would-be plagiarists, and the conversation that ensues is usually a lively one, framed around this question: just what, exactly, would it take for students to pay upwards of $500 for a "model" paper anyway?
What I discovered after sorting through my spam filter the next week, though, is truly disturbing. I never did order a paper through AffordableResearchPapers.com, but I did provide a working email address, to which this message was sent:
By filling our order form, you have shown interest in acquiring the custom writing services, at Affordable Research Papers, on the topic of 'abortion'.
Your Order Reference number is: 3050695. Since your payment was not received, your paper cannot be researched and written.
In order to continue the process and receive your paper within your specified deadline, you can view the summary of the order that you placed at Affordable Research Papers and make the payment by clicking the following link.
Additionally, you can start by paying an initial amount of $99 only. The remaining amount can be paid in 2 equal installments. You can use this payment plan if your order total is $300 or above. Through the flexible payment plan, you get a chance to view a number of pages from your custom written paper equivalent to the initial amount. Then if you find the paper according to your requirements and specifications, you can pay the rest of the installments and have the complete paper delivered to you.
Yup, that's right, folks. You can now commit plagiarism on a payment plan. Anyone willing to deny there's a problem with the commodification of higher education in this country now?