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Pamela Zimmerman, CEO of Write My Essays: The Challenges of the Essay Writing Business

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Nov. 14 2023, Published 12:36 a.m. ET

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My name is Pamela Zimmerman, and I am the founder and CEO of an essay writing company called Write My Essays. We established this service back in 2011 with friends while we were still students. Given that the essay industry often sparks controversy in society, it rarely receives media coverage. In this article, I'd like to shed some light on the academic writing market and discuss the challenges our company faces.

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1. Business Ethics

The biggest challenge for essay writing companies is the negative perception surrounding such services. Most companies don't even want to entertain the idea of collaborating with an essay writing firm. If they do agree, it's typically at a higher cost than with other businesses. The same goes for recruiting top-tier employees. For some positions, it's nearly impossible, so we often have to nurture and develop managers internally. We searched for our current CMO for over a year, and let me tell you, it was incredibly challenging.

There's also the risk that, at some point, the U.S. government might ban essay writing companies at the legislative level, similar to what happened in Australia. This uncertainty further complicates attracting investments.

2. Quality and Its Control

The second biggest challenge for us is maintaining a balance between high quality and competitive pricing. At Write My Essays, we have a rigorous writer evaluation system. To join our team, a writer must provide their certificates, diplomas, and pass various tests on subject knowledge and English proficiency. They also undergo a final video interview with our head of writers. I can confidently say that we currently employ some of the best writers in the market.

However, this sometimes isn't enough. On various forums and Facebook groups, these writers might sell their profiles to less competent writers or even outsource the writing tasks themselves. This significantly compromises the quality.

Quality control is one of our most crucial and prioritized tasks. We check all our works for quality and plagiarism using our AI-based quality control system. This greatly reduces time and costs for us. If a piece is flagged as questionable, our quality control manager manually reviews the work. If the work is indeed of low quality, we temporarily freeze the writer's account and conduct an investigation.

People often ask me how we manage to maintain high-quality work while offering such affordable prices. The truth is, it's all about automating most processes and having a relatively high volume of orders. This allows us to profit from a relatively small margin.

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3. Payment Systems

Another challenge is the reluctance of payment systems to work with essay writing companies. This stems from the numerous companies that offer subpar products, resulting in a high rate of chargebacks and refunds. Some payment systems, like PayPal, outright refuse to work with this type of business.

However, typically, if you have all the necessary documentation, passing compliance is feasible. It's just considerably more time-consuming and complex than for other types of businesses.

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4. Competition and Marketing

Marketing is a sore point for us and any other essay writing company. This is due to Google's official ban on advertising such services on AdWords and YouTube. However, in practice, many companies find loopholes, such as launching ads for intermediary landing pages. This channel of client acquisition is entirely closed off for us.

The market competition is intense. By our conservative estimates, over 400 websites vie for search traffic. Regrettably, not all competitors play by the rules; many resort to spammy tactics, making the search traffic channel quite costly.

Currently, social media platforms are proving effective, especially TikTok.

For us, Word of Mouth (WOM) has been the primary channel for a long time. Clients value the high quality of our work and recommend our service to their friends.

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5. Price Undercutting by Competitors

Another challenge we face is the constant price undercutting by essay writing companies from Ukraine, Pakistan, and India. Due to the lower quality of their writers, many of these sites offer prices that are nearly impossible to compete with. For us, matching their prices would mean operating at a loss, but I'm sure they still manage to make a decent profit with those rates. Naturally, such sites usually don't last long, but they still take a significant portion of the market.

6. ChatGPT and AI

A relatively new challenge that emerged last year is the impact of ChatGPT on the academic writing niche. Firstly, many students began using ChatGPT to draft simple texts. Secondly, professors started assigning fewer written tasks, fearing that students would rely on AI. It's unclear how much of the market ChatGPT has taken, but for instance, our client base has decreased by about 30%.

Personally, I believe this percentage will continue to grow, as OpenAI is constantly advancing and improving its products. On the other hand, clients will still turn to us for more complex assignments.

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