The following is a paid review and is completely of my own opinion and is not influenced by being paid. If you’re interested in having me review your site or product, please view my advertising page.
Plagiarism, as defined by the Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2006), is “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.“
Plagiarism is nothing new. You can find examples of plagiarism all throughout history. Some scholars even believe that the bible plagiarized stories from other religious. And there is no shortage of famous examples of plagiarism.
With the advent of the Internet and the common-use of it for “research” these days, plagiarism is more widespread today then ever.
This is where CheckForPlagiarism.net comes in.
CheckForPlagiarism.net is a paid service that allows members to submit documents, which will then be scanned and analyzed for any plagiarized content.
Who is it For?
Basically, as stated on the site itself, CheckForPlagiarism appears to be for anyone who is interested in protecting their intellectual property rights and wants to avoid running the risk of being penalized for either intentional or un-intentional plagiarism.
A user of the site will usually break down into one of the following groups:
It is obvious why such a site would be useful for teachers. Students are usually the most likely to use plagiarized content. In fact, there are many sites on the web where students can buy completely pre-written essays, thesis’s, and reports.
Previously, teachers would have to do their own research to try and prove the student of plagiarizing by finding the exact source through basic search-engine searches. A service such as CheckForPlagiarism could greatly be of aid to teachers.
While it may seem strange at first for a student to purchase such a service, it actually makes sense when you consider how often plagiarized material happens unintentionally. With college and university students facing expulsion for submitted plagiarized writings, using a service such as CheckForPlagiarism before sending in assignments could help catch any accidental plagiarism.
While students can face automatic failures and expulsion, professionals risk loss of job, lawsuits, and legal fines of up to $250,000. They also risk any future success within their profession since word tends to follow you when you have been caught for plagiarism.
Editors, Legal Department, and Management
Owners of newspapers, magazines, and other publishing companies are especially concerned with filtering out plagiarized material as they face steep legal fines and lawsuits. While it is unlikely that large institutions will put all of their plagiarism-checking efforts into an online service such as CheckForPlagiarism.net, smaller publishing companies could do very well by doing so.
How it Works
CheckForPlagiarism is an automated service which checks against both live and cached Internet resources including blogs, message boards, public-PDFs, and various other web-based repositories.
In addition, it checks against offline/physical books, articles, magazines, journals, etc. This is a useful feature since it is something that cannot be easily be searched for by somebody using Google, for example.
CheckForPlagiarism.net claims to check against millions of documents, papers, and articles world-wide. They also state that their service uses patented sentence-structure checking algorithms which sift out and identify even the most subtle hints at plagiarism.
Unfortunately, I was not provided with a temporary free account to test their service for myself, but they did provide a sample report to see how their system works.
The screenshot below shows the beginning of the report. As you can see, in this example it was found that the submitted document contained 52% plagiarized content. It then goes on to state the exact sources of which are plagiarized from:
The next screenshot shows a later part of the report. Each suspected plagiarized section is outlined with a reference to the original source:
Plagiarism upon Plagiarism?
Upon doing my research for this review, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. Almost exactly a year ago, I did a paid review of iPlagiarismCheck.com.
At first, I thought that CheckForPlagiarism.net and iPlagiarismCheck.com were simply different sites with a similar service, but upon closer inspection, apart from a different domain name, design, and layout, I’m left wondering if they are actually run/owned by the same source.
If not, then it appears that there is a “master” plagiarism script or service and both of these sites are simply “skins”, which both provide the exact same service from a 3rd-party script or service. This would be akin to how many poker rooms or hosting resellers work.
The services are completely identical, right down to the exact prices, except for the yearly membership price is $30 cheaper on CheckForPlagiarism.com.
If they are indeed owned by the same person and were just made separately for some reason, then it would be advised that the owner disclose this somewhere, or better yet, close one of the sites down to prevent such confusion.
Update: The owner responded in the comments below confirming that both sites are indeed owned by the same company, so this should clear up any confusion or possible insinuations made above.
CheckForPlagiarism claims that their monthly/yearly fees are 35-70% lower than their competitors. This was difficult to check up on since many such services do not publicly disclose their prices such as TurnItIn.com, but I’ll take their word for it.
CheckForPlagiarism also provides a refund/money-back guarantee. However, it is not unconditional:
“Once your document has been submitted for processing you will no longer be eligible for a refund. If however, there is a problem with your plagiarism-originality-report, please contact our help desk and we can review your request for a refund.
Money-Back Guarantee is limited to an individual and/or an institution proving that our plagiarism results fall short in comparision to any of our leading competitiors in all areas of plagiarism checking (Internet Checking, Database Checking, etc.).”
So basically, you need to use another service to compare the results and prove that the other service returned more relevant results. At least, that is how it is worded in the second paragraph.
CheckForPlagiarism offers 3 packages:
- Student Edition Package – The student package allows for 5 document submissions. Only personal or self-written documents are allowed to be submitted in this package. Priced at $20, this works out to $4 per submission which is very reasonable, especially considering that students are unlikely to be submitting more than 1 big or important essay, thesis, or report per week.
- Monthly Edition Package – The monthly edition package allows for an unlimited* amount of submissions for a monthly price of $65.
Yearly Edition Package – The yearly package also allows for an unlimited* amount of submissions, but is only $150 for an entire year. For repeat users, the yearly package is significantly cheaper than the monthly edition.
*Limit of 10 submissions per any 24-hour period.
There are also customized packages available upon inquiry.
The chart below compares the features of CheckForPlagiarism with two of their competitors:
There is certainly a use and need for a plagiarism service such as CheckForPlagiarism.net.
Unfortunately, since I was not given a temporary account to test the service for myself, I was unable to review the actual service first-hand. However, I have reviewed a similar plagiarism-checking site in the past which was almost identical to this one, and I did find the report useful as it found my blatantly plagiarized article I submitted.
I can see CheckForPlagiarism.net being very useful to teachers, although I must think that it is difficult for teachers to justify shelling out their own money to pay for such a service.
I would recommend for CheckForPlagiarism to consider offering a free trial. I understand this can be abused, so perhaps offering a per-document fee of $7-$10 would be a good alternative.
If you’re a teacher, publisher, student, or even a webmaster like me who owns a content site such as movie review site and wants to check against submitted plagiarized material, then CheckForPlagiarism.net could be useful to you.