Commercial contract cheating provision through micro-outsourcing web sites

International Journal for Educational Integrity 16 (1) (2020)
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Abstract

As the contract cheating market has become more sophisticated and competition has intensified, the contract cheating industry has had to redevelop its approach to gain custom. The industry has developed new models of internal operation and providers are using more sophisticated techniques to reach potential customers. This paper discusses contract cheating industry workflows and introduces terminology to allow complexities of the industry to be more consistently discussed. Examples are provided throughout to indicate the scale and challenge of the contract cheating industry operations.An analysis of contract cheating operations on the micro-outsourcing website Fiverr.com is presented, using comparative data collected in June 2016 and October 2018. The analysis of the data demonstrates how the contract cheating industry is seeing continual change. Specifically, on Fiverr.com, this includes an increase in the number of providers offering essay writing services, particularly those from Kenya and Pakistan. The increase in service availability is accompanied by an associated reduction in essay pricing. The advertised pricing per 1000 words has dropped substantially, from $31.73 USD to $5.73 USD. The accounts used by contract cheating providers are also being replaced at an increased rate.Based on the data, contract cheating providers on Fiverr.com are currently estimated to be taking a minimum of $92,001 USD per year in revenue. This is an example calculated from only one search term on which contract cheating providers advertise on only one micro-outsourcing site used for contract cheating. The actual industry income from micro-outsourcing web sites is likely to be substantially higher.

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