Plagiarism at universities: a stamp-it-out service set up by some savvy students

A guest post by Emilia Sukhova

Last week I ran an article about how Emilia and her colleagues believe that plagiarism amongst university students should be dealt with. I found the approach interesting and honorable, so I asked Emilia to share with us how she and her colleagues came to develop their service. Here is what she replied to me…

Dear Suze

Plagtracker is a startup that evolved from our graduation project we had in university few years ago. It all started when we were graduating and had to pick up something for our graduation project. We thought that a system able to check text content matches was going to be something interesting to work with. Few months later graduation project was completed and we were happy to be graduates ourselves, but we noticed something interesting.

The thing is that our plagiarism checker was in a very poor form back in these days, it was literally just a raw code with one action button and window with provided text. But some students on campus started to use it to check their essays and the rest of their paperwork for plagiarism. Later on, a few teachers asked us if it would be okay for them to use it as well.

This was the point when we decided to group up and regard this project as our main focus of activity

A bit later we researched the market of plagiarism checkers and discovered that the niche is not complete yet. There were lots of paid services and some free ones, but all of them were kind of outdated services from 90s with poor designs and lots of information required to be filled by their users.

That pushed us to one of the most important decisions in project – make it completely free-to-use and with minimum requirements from our users. Another important thing is that we wanted to make our site look really beautiful with pretty colors and easy navigation, and that’s something we succeed on, I think.

Our university experience showed us that students and teachers are lacking in tools like ours, so we decided to pick them as our target audience. Also, we were in need to choose a brand name for our service and Plagtracker fitted in well here, since it was a unique name and related to plagiarism in general.

Exponential growth led to premium (paid) services as well as the free one

As for our business model, I noted above that we decided to be a free service to cover needs of students and teachers as a plagiarism checker. But later on we noticed that we are being used by some writing companies, book publishers and professional writers, too. They were creating huge pressure on our servers, since they were uploading really massive amounts of data to check. It pushed us into implementing premium access accounts with some extra features for this kind of user.

And they were glad to see it, because it allows them to upload much larger amounts of data and process it a bit faster than free access users can do. It works pretty well now. Premium subscription sales are growing well, so we can spend some extra funds to make our service even better. It’s not earning us excessive profits yet, but it’s more than good for a startup by people of our ages.

By ‘us’ I mean myself Emilia (support representative/Plagtracker representative; 26 years old), Svetlana (project manager, computer science specialist; 24 years old), Timur (marketing manager; 24 years old), Alex (developer; 24 years old), Sergey (developer; 24 years old) and few other people who were helping us on various stages of development. Our team is multinational: members are spread across the USA, Poland and Ukraine.

But the crucial point is to keep our team small and comfortable – a place for like-minded people working together.

Best regards,

Emilia Sukhova

How nice it is to see young people grasp enterprise opportunities and make them work, not only as businesses to support themselves, but also to help others on the basis of their own experience and vision of a much needed, gap-filling service.

Make your writing uniquely successful:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

 

photo credit: Jörg Weingrill via photo pin cc

Comments

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Thoughts

  1. This is brilliant! And I’m glad there’s a paid model too. It’s a great business idea, so why not profit?

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  1. […] her project, Plagtracker.com, and how it came to be formed. It’s an inspiring story which I will share next week, so look out for it. […]

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