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Trawling our site to prevent student copying

Updated March 2007

We keep "an eye" on our web traffic - watching for broken links, unusual patterns of access, heavy traffic in particular areas, etc. Yesterday, I came across a crawler known as the TurnitinBot with sufficient accesses to our site to put it high up the list of browsers. A new one on me; visited their web site and learnt " This robot collects content from the Internet for the sole purpose of helping educational institutions prevent plagiarism."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

My first reaction was to say "Of all the damned cheek" .... like many sites, we generally welcome robots because they provide a service for both our potential users and also for ourselves, by telling people about our web site / helping with our marketing. But here is this new crawler using considerable bandwidth and saying "We're not here to help YOU - we're here ONLY to help educational institutions .....".

But then, I guess I'm in favour of students handing in their own work rather than someone else's - both in order for it to be a "level playing field" and in the longer term so that people we might look to employ are thinkers rather than duplicators. And I guess I have a slight feeling that I'm delighted that this robot feels that our content is actually worth indexing in the fight against copyright theft.

What irks me slightly is that the robot is being used for an out-of-the-normal purpose, and it's a purpose that provides us with much obvious (and perhaps lesser) benefit, an the operators just helped themselves to our bandwidth without so much as an introductory email. To be fair, they did check (and are re-checking every 12 hours) our robot exclusion settings through which I could ask them to cease indexing us.

In the light of day, I'll probably let the robot index our pages. It's been going through our Open Talk Forum with great vigour, which means that it's protecting not only the content that we at Well House Consultants have written, but also the content of our contributors.

Addition - March 2007. I note that my concerns are NOT alone about this company - the Washington Post reports: "Two McLean High School students have launched a court challenge against a California company hired by their school to catch cheaters, claiming the anti-plagiarism service violates copyright laws. The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, seeks $900,000 in damages from the for-profit service known as Turnitin..

Full Article

I have to admit that I'm in support of this Student's case - I feel the company acts arrogantly in the field of breaking individual's copyright and imposing traffic loads, etc while at the very same time claiming to be providing a service to prevent such copyright breaches. A case of the pot calling the kettle black.
(written 2004-11-24, updated 2007-04-01)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G502 - Well House Consultants - Business Practice
  [15] 90 to 10 or 80 to 20 rule - (2004-08-15)
  [27] Sales technique - (2004-08-25)
  [68] Get the strategy worked out and the tactics just fall into place. - (2004-09-30)
  [77] Telephone systems - (2004-10-07)
  [88] Getting the right level of trainer - (2004-10-14)
  [95] Five red flags - (2004-10-21)
  [108] A typical morning - (2004-11-03)
  [121] Fair and Simple - (2004-11-17)
  [125] Staff theft - (2004-11-21)
  [137] Certification schemes - (2004-12-02)
  [157] Automatic service upgrades - (2004-12-19)
  [180] Skunk works - (2005-01-17)
  [188] Pink elephant and appreciation - (2005-01-24)
  [200] Tips for the top - (2005-02-03)
  [211] Look after your staff and they'll look after you. AOL. - (2005-02-12)
  [217] Use of time - (2005-02-16)
  [226] Growing our systems - (2005-02-24)
  [297] A reminder that the customer is King - (2005-05-01)
  [321] Sales - the alternative close - (2005-05-23)
  [399] simplicity hides real size - (2005-07-31)
  [438] Fair system for travel and accommodation expenses - (2005-09-07)
  [457] Do the work and take the risk - a PHP contract to avoid - (2005-10-06)
  [467] Tell them three times - (2005-10-17)
  [487] On line course booking - credit card protection - (2005-11-06)
  [491] Being atypical is typical - (2005-11-10)
  [536] Cancellations and penalties - (2005-12-21)
  [626] Not just a pretty face to answer the phone. - (2006-02-26)
  [652] Morning Post - (2006-03-20)
  [664] Ruby course - oops - it's not happening - (2006-04-01)
  [766] Discounts and approved supplier lists - (2006-06-17)
  [808] Sales call - (2006-07-19)
  [849] Staff Meeting - (2006-08-30)
  [869] UNABLE TO ATTEND - (2006-09-16)
  [883] Age discrimination law - (2006-10-01)
  [906] A commitment we won't be making - (2006-10-27)
  [1057] Selling by phone and Skype - our policy - (2007-01-30)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [1133] B-2-B Networking, 20th April. Useful for YOUR business? - (2007-04-03)
  [1157] Speed Networking - a great evening and how we arranged it - (2007-04-21)
  [1165] Extended Credit request - train in June and be paid in September - (2007-04-27)
  [1243] Heavy duty hole punch - (2007-06-24)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1263] 0800 043 8225 - a new phone number for Well House - (2007-07-10)
  [1319] Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25)
  [1342] Google, wwmdirectory, Freshwater, ATP - new scam? - (2007-09-09)
  [1373] New Month, New Quarter, New Laws - (2007-10-01)
  [1394] Business to Business Networking - North and West Wilts / Melksham - (2007-10-17)
  [1453] What makes our courses special? - (2007-12-02)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1626] Early May - a short chance to regroup and improve - (2008-05-01)
  [1713] Ways to accept credit cards - or not! - (2008-07-19)
  [1855] Volunteer v Employee - a skewed balance? (FSB) - (2008-10-25)
  [1913] Alastair Darling helps make paperwork and confusion - (2008-11-30)
  [2044] Please Trouble me - (2009-02-16)
  [2122] Commission Creep - (2009-04-08)
  [2126] Weeding out old phone numbers - (2009-04-11)
  [2161] Get it right ... if it goes wrong, it takes so much effort to sort out! - (2009-05-08)
  [2187] Are we IITT (Institute of IT Training) members? - (2009-05-17)
  [2190] How you are (re)presented at an exhibition - (2009-05-19)
  [2283] Everyone is in the customer relations business - (2009-07-12)
  [2331] Certification Revisted - Lua - (2009-08-09)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2598] An excuse for making a sales call - (2010-01-26)
  [2788] Cost of Sales - (2010-06-01)
  [2821] Chancellor George Osborne inspires Perl Program - (2010-06-22)
  [2936] The service that customers should receive - (2010-08-27)
  [2966] Cheap Country Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire? - (2010-09-21)
  [3073] Customer Service - the boundary - (2010-11-27)
  [3157] A new monopoly on the ferry to Northern Ireland - (2011-02-04)
  [3333] Honesty and a friendly welcome goes a long way - (2011-06-25)
  [3506] Cold call contacts - preference services and turning off spam sales approaches - (2011-11-03)
  [3613] Keeping Business Local. But is that realistic? - (2012-02-13)
  [3665] Will will smile? - (2012-03-22)
  [3750] Matching opening hours to when customers can come in and buy - (2012-06-04)
  [3755] Cruising on the Mersey Ferry? - (2012-06-07)
  [4107] Snog, Marry, Avoid - (2013-05-31)
  [4293] Certification - (2014-09-15)
  [4415] Buffet review - taking the price into account - (2015-02-05)
  [4520] No cold sales calls please - but delighted to hear from others! - (2015-09-29)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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