Need to cheat? On a budget? Visit Essaybay

York student journalist finds he can get an essay written for as little as $100. Writers claim to be grads of Harvard, Oxford; promise a "B"

You can sell your slightly-damaged futon to the highest bidder on Ebay–and use the money to pay the lowest bidder to write your university course essay, on

The web-based service is the latest spin on university cheating, offering custom-made, university-level essays. It works kind of like the tender process that businesses and government use for major contracts: Users post descriptions of the product they are looking for, and others respond with bids to produce the requested essay. Bidders state their price and their qualifications; the individual student decides which bidder they believe is most qualified, and entrust them essay to them.

As York University student journalist Flynn Daunt discovered, even a clearly ridiculous essay request brought multiple offers, at rock-bottom prices, from people claiming the highest qualifications. Flynn went on and posted that he needed a 1,750 word essay, and had to earn at least a “B.” His topic: “America’s War on Mustaches.”

“Within a few days there were seven bids from writers claiming to be graduates from acclaimed schools such as Oxford and Harvard,” wrote Flynn in the Excalibur, York’s student paper. “The bids had a price range from just over $100 to about $400.”

Essaybay says, however, that it is not engaging in cheating. According to Jed Hallam, Essaybay’s public relations manager, the service is in fact improving the “custom essay industry” by “increasing the transparency of the process.” He says

“It is ridiculous to suggest that using our service as a study aid is cheating,” Hallam told the Excalibur, “and this suggestion is merely a way for universities and colleges to reflect blame for poor assessment methods.”

Right. Got it. All we really want to know is, how much would a paper taking this line of reasoning cost on EssayBay? “Student X requires an argumentative essay with the following title: ‘Putting your name on a paper you didn’t write is not cheating.’ Length: 2,000 words. Required Grade: A”