Unethical Web Site of the Month: Essay Emperor

Masquerading as a blog (Ethics offense #1 : Dishonesty) when it is, in fact, a commercial web site advertising an essay writing service, Essay Emperor includes “informational posts” purporting to give general information about essay writing services but which actually links the reader to just one service: the service provided by—what a coincidence!—Essay Emperor, Inc. (Ethics Offense #2 : Deceit)

Three of the posts on the home page claim to discuss the ethical issues of using essay-writing services. The current post is titled “Essay Writing Service: Unethical or a Legitimate Tool?”  The post, however, doesn’t raise any ethical arguments at all, and suggests that the interested potential user of “one of these services” ( all links go to Essay Emperor’s services) “research” user reviews. Such reviews, of course, are only concerned with price, timeliness, quality of the essays and the final results, not ethics. The users of cheating services are not interested in ethics.

Incredibly, the blog post frames the ethics issue as only involving the ethics of the paid ghostwriter, stating, “The best essay-writing help will come from companies that use great writers that do not copy work.” That’s the only ethics issue Essay Emperor thinks in important: whether the paid writer’s essay is original.  That the essay produced, original or not, will be used for academic cheating is not mentioned at all.  Since the “research” suggested in the post won’t cover the only real ethics issue, the title is a sham. (Ethics offense #3 : Misrepresentation)

In an earlier post, titled “On the Ethical Use of an Essay Writing Service,” the entire “ethical” analysis is this:

“Is it ethical to use such a company for your writing needs? There are certainly justifiable reasons for using an essay writing service, but there are also some drawbacks. When using a writing service it is most likely that you will pay to get a decent essay written. You can give a deadline, subject, word count and all of that good stuff, but chances are a rewrite might be involved. Another drawback to this is that a college professor might know when you are using said services. While there are reasons such as family emergencies and just plain being swamped with work or finals, using an essay writing service can be reckless without proper research. Care should be taken to check references on any company before deciding to use them”

That’s it…the whole discussion of the “ethical use” of essay writing services. Did you see any ethical considerations mentioned? I don’t. The “justifiable reasons” cited aren’t justifiable reasons to lie and cheat. The “drawbacks” noted are that you have to pay, that the essay might not be any good, and that you might get caught, none of which have anything to do with ethics. (Ethics offenses #4, 5 and 6 : Dishonesty, Misrepresentation and Incompetence, by giving advice on ethics without comprehending what ethics is.)

For the record, the ethical “drawbacks” of submitting an essay or research paper under your name that you did not in fact write are:

  • It is cheating.

  • It is dishonest.

  • It is unfair to fellow students who actually did their own work.

  • It is undermines the integrity of the educational process.

  • It makes academic achievement depend on a student’s access to resources (that is, money) rather than hard work and ability.

  • It avoids exactly the values writing assignments are supposed to reinforce, like responsibility, diligence, and sacrifice.

  • It supports an unethical industry that actively works to corrupt students and the education system by encouraging them to cheat by appealing to unethical rationalizations.

Essay Emperor, naturally, won’t acknowledge or discuss any of these, because there is no debate or controversy: paying someone to write an essay for a student to present as his or her own is unethical, by definition.

The blog tries to sidestep this problem in another post, suggesting that the ghostwritten essays are legitimate research devices, to assist a student in writing a paper:

“Technically speaking it would be very responsible use of term paper writing  help, to simply use the research and put things in your own words. I know, re-writing things or putting your own spin on it sort of defeats the purpose, right? This depends on the university but for the most part researching something for someone is not unethical. It ensures that you have ample raw research to build on. Thus, it is up to you to be smart about it, check your university policy and be sure to comply with all requirements and agreements you have entered into…”

Lie after lie after lie! It is not a responsible use of term paper writing help to “use the research” and “put things in your own words.” That is still plagiarism, unless the “research paper” and author is properly credited, which, being an illicitly acquired document, it never is. “Researching something for someone” may not be unethical (although it is when the researcher is helping a student cheat, as in this case), but paying someone to do your research when a class requires each student to do his or her own work is always unethical. It is all subterfuge anyway; maybe someone has paid an essay service to custom write a paper that he only used as research for an original work, but it couldn’t happen very often, and probably never happens at all—as Essay Emperor well knows. (Ethics offense #7 : Dishonesty again).

But what should we expect from a fake blog, for an unethical business, using disingenuous rationalizations to persuade students to cheat? The only remarkable aspect of this unethical website is its gall: abusing the term “ethics” to persuade students to act unethically.

3 thoughts on “Unethical Web Site of the Month: Essay Emperor

  1. This is arguably covered by your fourth and fifth bullet points, but to restate and be clear about one of the biggest ethical arguments against this: It looses people on the world who have expert credentials but are not in fact experts. As an extreme example, how would you feel about having heart surgery performed by a doctor whose paper about heart surgery had been written by a writing factory? Most college term papers don’t have quite this direct a connection to terrible consequences, but the difference is only one of degree.

  2. Regarding the sixth offense you noted: incompetence. Is this truly an ethics offense?

    The incompetence seems to be deliberate, so maybe it is just another deception?

    I don’t know if one should be faulted for being incompetent, or even ignorant. Feigning authority and deception? Yes. But not being dumb.

    • Willful or negligent incompetence is pretty well accepted as a breach of professional ethics. It implicates responsibility and diligence. It’s irresponsible to take on a job you aren’t qualified to do, unless you can resolve to get qualified. Yes, if you are so stupid you don’t know you are stupid, that’s not unethical; that’s sad. But a airplane pilot who knows he can’t land, a FEMA director who doesn’t give a damn, and the doctor who hasn’t kept up with new developments because he’s lazy or thinks it doesn’t matter: incompetent, and unethical as a result.

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