Google bans essay writing adverts


Big deal:

Google is to ban adverts for essay writing services - following claims that plagiarism is threatening the integrity of university degrees.

There have been complaints from universities about students being sold customised essays on the internet.

The advert ban from the Google search engine has been "warmly welcomed" by university authorities.

But it has angered essay writing firms which say this will unfairly punish legitimate businesses.

From next month, Google will no longer take adverts from companies which sell essays and dissertations - and the internet company has written to advertisers to tell them about the policy.

Google's forthcoming ban on adverts for "academic paper-writing services and the sale of pre-written essays, theses, and dissertations" means that essay websites join a blacklist of "unacceptable content" including adverts for weapons, prostitution, drugs, tobacco, fake documents and "miracle cures".

Don't expect much to change. I would think demand for 'academic paper-writing services' is pretty inelastic - if you are determined to cheat and are willing to 'pay' the cost of potentially getting caught, a small decrease in the amount of advertising should not do much to alter the cost-reward calculus.

Also, notice that Google only bans advertising, not search. The great advantage of Google ads, of course, is that they appear first on the list of search results - and thus have a higher probability of being selected. What Google is essentially doing is transferring advertising funds from itself to companies that specialise in helping websites 'work' Google's algorithm to achieve a top ranking in search results.

Also, almighty as it undoubtedly is, Google is by no means the only search engine around - let alone the only market for essays on demand. It is easy to be carried away given all the talk by Googlemaniacs (hooray, Google is going to conquer the world!) and Googlophobes (somebody stop them, Google is going to conquer the world) to think that all information today has to get the approval of the big G, but you would be wrong. There are other companies, and for that matter, other media too.

Google is trying to recover it's 'Do no evil' image, tarnished after its recent foray in China, by generating some hype from nothing; I expect its advertising revenues from 'academic paper-writing services' to be some negligible part of the total. An empty gesture, and an over-enthusiastic response.

Little known fact: The Greek Constitution makes it illegal for any business to refuse to serve a customer with the ability to pay. Companies are restricted to operating on a commercial basis, and are not allowed to run their own social policy.

I wonder where true libertarians stand on this - I would be grateful if readers could share their thoughts on the comments section or via email.

3 comments:

  1. James D. Miller Says:

    "The Greek Constitution makes it illegal for any business to refuse to serve a customer with the ability to pay."

    This is very anti libertarian. It violates freedom of association. It also gives the government great power to determine if a customer is being rejected because the firm dislikes him or because of some other reason (such as he treated the firm dishonestly before.)

    Also, libertarians like the fact that many businesspeople allow their own moral judgments to influence their decisions. Let's say that a restaurant won't serve black customers and such discrimination is not illegal. Many libertarians would hope that other businesses would refuse to sell to this restaurant and thus force the restaurant to shut down.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    The ironic thing is, Google said back in May 07 that it had banned these type of adverts but it hasn't at all. Firstly it allowed people to advertise under the guise of 'essay advice' and now, they have all out just allowed people to bid on terms like 'essay writer' and 'essays'. Just type these terms into Google and you'll see. One can't help but think that their ban was just a publicity stunt to boost their squeaky clean image - they are certainly not following it through.

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