Business Ethics and Tutorial Websites Like ‘studentoffortune.com’ – Really?

Just like clockwork every day I receive an e-mail from google listing the new content for a selected topic – “Business Ethics” – a topic I specialize in as a speaker. Most days there is something of interest – either a new article, headline or blog posting. But over the course of the past several weeks I have begun to see a new entry in this arena and I must say it caught me by surprise.

Read below – as this is copied from the goole alert that I received in early November 2008. After you read, I’llHigh School Series offer some comments.

$50.00 – Research Paper Business Ethics
Research Paper Needed My topic will be Freddie Mac and the mortgage crisis, government bailout and the ethical impact this had on the nation. Research Paper Requirements 1) Length: 5 – 7 pages (Not including title page and reference
Student of Fortune – Recent Questions – http://studentoffortune.com/

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Maybe it’s just me, but frankly I was amazed. It appeared that “studentoffortune.com” was a brokerage house for – what I would describe as – truly unethical practices. I was shocked. I knew that there were places on line where one might buy papers, etc. for school, but never thought that someone could advertise blatantly for homework “prostitution.”

Well I looked a bit further…and another entry that made the “google” list for business ethics. Hum…

$50.00 – Business Ethics
Has anyone taken a Business Ethics Class, I am totally lost. I do not know how to get the APA references the only reference the teacher wants us to use and I have a paper do. I go to the online library but is finding myself lost.
Student of Fortune – Recent Questions – http://studentoffortune.com/

Wow…

Well maybe this wasn’t what I thought it was until I researched the site. As best I can tell it is promoted as on-line tutorial for money. O.K. I thought. But the idea of a tutorial is help – not someone doing it for them. So, tell me if I’m wrong, but look at this next one – cause what I see is someone buying a paper for $10.00.

$10.00 ECO205 Final Project: Industry Research Completion (Auto Industry)

Q:

Final Project: Industry Research Completion
· Resource: Appendix A
· Due Date: Day 7 [Individual] forum
· Write a 1,750- to 2,450-word paper in APA format that provides an economic profile of
the industry you have researched. In your paper, discuss how the following impact the
industry.
o Shifts and price elasticity of supply and demand
o Positive and negative externalities
o Wage inequality
o Monetary and fiscal policies
· Conclude your paper with final thoughts on:
o How the economy affects the success of your chosen industry
o Economic influences that can affect the industry in a negative way
· Post your paper as a Microsoft© Word attachment.

Attachments:
eco205_appendix_a[1].doc (41K)

Somehow…I see this bastardizing the whole concept of BUSINESS ETHICS.

Would love to have your comments…perhaps some of you see something different than what I see on the surface.

Chuck Gallagher is a business ethics and fraud prevention speaker. On a crisp October day in 1995, Chuck Gallagher took 23 physical steps… opened a door… and began a new experience that was life-changing. In a style that is far more vulnerable than most motivational keynote speakers, Chuck shares poignant life lessons with his audience and touches them forever.

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21 Responses to Business Ethics and Tutorial Websites Like ‘studentoffortune.com’ – Really?

  1. Sean M says:

    I felt it was important to respond to this post directly the president and co-founder of Student of Fortune. We started the website after college to address the apparent lack of resources available for students to help each other learn and make money off their expertise.

    We are firm believers in business ethics and, as a result, we have made increasing inroads towards removing objectionable content from the site. I know this is something a lot of companies say, but since we started Student of Fortune to help students and not for some vague VC-backed interests, we feel very passionately about this subject.

    I do apologize for the examples you discovered. We are still a fairly small site and, as a result, do not have the manpower to actively monitor all content on the site, as it is all provided by our users and for our users. However, we do make every attempt to keep the content on Student of Fortune directed towards learning and not “homework prostitution”. The examples you described have been removed from the site, not to pretend they never happened but instead in our ongoing effort to remove truly unethical material from the site. So, thank you again for bringing this to our attention.

    I really do welcome these discussions, as we’re sort of blazing new trails here. We spell out our policies pretty clearly on our Academic Honesty Policy throughout the site. Please feel free to contact me personally regarding this issue and I’d be happy to discuss them.

    • katie says:

      Sean, I have had MAJOR issues with the staff on your site…I would greatly appreciate it if you could contact me to discuss this matter.

  2. Sean…thank you for your post.

    You’re idea is noble and I’m sure that most use it for its intended purpose. As a point of interest…I was not trying to pick on you or your web site. It came up on google’s “Business Ethics” alter once, then twice, then when it hit a third time, it was enough to draw my attention as a Business Ethics speaker and author.

    One thing is for sure, it is hard to keep folks honest and I can imagine that you have more than your share of issues in policing the site.

    It’s interesting from my perspective that based on an ongoing survey of teen ethics done by Junior Achievement and Deloitte Touche – students often don’t see the lines between ethics and outcome. In fact, most report that the outcome is more important than the journey – so if you have to pay for an outcome – so be it.

    Unfortunate.

    My best to you and congratulations on a business model that seems to be working.

    • Hello Mr. Gallagher, I enjoyed reading your post here and am glad that someone “outside” the box of Student of Fortune has noticed something that seems not quite right.

      I definitely have to agree and state that the idea of SOF is noble in a helping sense. I used the site some when I was struggling and actually found a good tutor to explain things to me, which allowed me to understand it easier.

      Since then I have become a tutor and most of the time things are good but unfortunately like most things in life there tends to be a few who ruin it for others.

      As for your comment about “policing” the site, well, in my experience many have been reported for stealing others work and selling it as their own and NOTHING is done about it. I have come to realize that the creators/owners of this site do not know a smidgen about ethics.

      Oh, they can get on the computer all day long and make it look like they really care (Sean?) but for those of us who honestly use the SOF site, we know the crudeness underlying this business. It is a money thing all the way for them and nothing else; no ethics, no morals, no scruples, etc…

      I had to laugh when I read your statement: “students often don’t see the lines between ethics and outcome. In fact, most report that the outcome is more important than the journey” as this describes exactly how SOF operates, still chuckling…thanks a bunch for the laugh! No really, you are absolutely correct that it’s unfortunate for our young people today. If there is no in-between the degree is worthless in my thinking.

      My experience with the customer service is also the same as many I am reading about on the net. They are very vague and sometimes downright rude even though what is being asked is a legitimate question.

      My time is limited on SOF as quite frankly I’m tired of other tutors buying my work as an ‘unregistered buyer’ and then reselling it and making profit from my original work. I would rather give it away than have a thief steal from me! Thanks for an interesting read Mr. Gallagher and good day to you.

  3. Serious member says:

    They have closed my account saying they are verifying a fraud. My tutorials and my account are still on their site and the money my account is making go to studentoffortune for no reason at all. I still have my account closed and no answer from them. Thieves!

  4. Sean M says:

    I’m the founder of Student of Fortune and I would like to reply to “Serious member”s post, as I’ve done in a couple other places online.We take (and, more personally, I take) customer satisfaction extremely seriously. We have been investigating some instances of fraud lately but I can assure you that we’re not “stealing”in any way. I’ve noticed you have posted this message in several places online and I’m trying to reply to them all in order to contact you — Our customer service department isn’t sure who you are, as you’ve made no mention of any way for us to get in touch with you to help resolve this. Please contact me directly and I will work with you to resolve any problems you may have. You can reach me by emailing founder at studentoffortune. I’m happy to help resolve any problems any Student of Fortune user may have 🙂

    • Chris says:

      Your site and you as the founder are nothing but thieves. I cant wait for the lawsuit to hit your asses!

    • Mel says:

      I too am yet to receive any money from my tutoring. I was told my withdrawl was rejected from Paypal and that was that. I contacted Paypal and nothing was wrong with my account. Now, SOF has blew me off completely and refused to answer any inquiries. I have deleted all tutorials, but still have $1000 in my account. Great company, right, wonderful customer service, so great there is no contact number, huh that should say something right there. And yes, this site is completely cheating, and all this site cares about is taking your money!!! 40% of all tutorials, plus tries to keep your money for over 6 weeks, then tells you it did not go through, I bet it didn’t…..

    • mim1213 says:

      I am still waiting for money to deposit into my account. The SOF website is a fraud. Give yourself the opportunity to prove everyone wrong and deposit the money into the accounts of the rightful owners.
      I eagerly await your response before I contact the BBB and appropriate legal authorities.

    • Bobby says:

      Can You explain why there is no telephone number and why the emails sent by your tutors are never answered. Tutors that have made you thousands of dollars are treated like crap and ignored. There is no way to contact anyone and it all seems quite shady.

      Fair warning if you are going to work at a place like this do not expect to get paid. You have the worst customer service ever. You are a cheater and a liar and your commpany deals in shady business practices. Not very ethical, huh.

  5. Whitney says:

    I had something similar happen. Someone hacked into my email and then since they had control of my email they were able to hack into my paypal account AND my student of fortune account. I messaged the site and asked them to contact me at my alternate email address and I let them know that someone had taken over my account and no one ever messaged me back. I have since regained control of all of my accounts only to find that my SOF account was locked up by the site. I have messaged the site (including the founder) over 40 times in the last 2 days and have only received one response that states “your account was locked because you violated the ToU”. I have let them know that someone hacked my account and have gotten no response. It is not like they are shutting down my personal myspace. They have shut down my only source of income and they do not care!! There isn’t even a phone number available so that I can contact someone at the site in order to resolve this problem. I just have to sit here (losing money) and wait for someone to get the chance to respond to my numerous emails. If someone from student of fortune reads this and would like to contact me my email address is heretohelp0123@yahoo.com – Does this site not realize that they are my employer and I do not even have a number to reach them??????

  6. Whitney says:

    Good luck sending a message to the “founder” of Student of Fortune. I sent numberous emails to Sean M. over a week ago and still have not gotten a reponse. Sean, if you are going to give out your email address and tell people that you are so intently focused on customer satisfaction then stand up to your word and at least respond to your emails. The agents that you have responding to emails sent through the “contact” button on your site are rude and ignorant. I have also sent them numerous emails and they are worthless. I was finally sent a message from one of your “customer service reps” and all it said was “send us an affidavit”. I replied asking what type of affidavit was needed (since I wasn’t sure if all you needed was a notarized affidavit or a police report) and all your agent replied was “like we said, send us a sworn affidavit”. Great job hiring intellgent and helpful customer service reps Sean!

  7. michele says:

    I’m extreemly frustrated with Student of Fortune. I currently cannot withdrawal money from my SoF account because I do not have a tax form on file. I have submitted my tax form via fax and email several times. The website states that it takes 1-2 weeks to process tax forms. I have been trying to get my form processed for over 2 months. There is no contact phone number – only an email address. I send emails asking if they have received my form, and if they are going to process it. Each time I receive responses telling me that it takes 1-2 weeks to process (even though I have already waited 1-2 weeks each time I resubmit the form) I have even received a completely blank email from them. I don’t understand why it should take months to process the form unless they just don’t want people to withdraw money.

  8. MARILYN says:

    SOF IS NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. i HAVE BEEN A TUTOR ON THAT SITE FOR OVER A YEAR. I MADE OVER 24.000 DOLLARS AND THEY JUST DECIDED TO CLOSE MY ACCOUNT FOR NO APPARENT REASON. the SITE IS NOTHING BUT BULL. IT CONTAINS NOTHING BUT PLAGIARIZED MATERIAL AND THE SITE ENGAGES IN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. I MESSAGED THE SITE ABOUT MY WORK BEING RESOLD BY OTHERS ON THERE AND THEY DID NOTHING. I AM ACTUALLY IN THE PROCESS OF A LAWSUIT AGAINST THEM. IF YOU WANT QUALITY HELP GO TO

    • Mel says:

      All of us who have had problems with Student of Fortune need to get together and sue the site. I am waiting for over $1000 and I have a feeling from your posts that I will have my account closed soon too. This is not right, they can’t get away with this. Please e-mail me Tah11112@aol.com if you are interested….

    • mim1213 says:

      where do i go to help/join in on this lawsuit? they owed me money and i’ve never seen a red cent.
      please advise

  9. Amber Michelle Hassell says:

    A lot of complaining. I have made tons of money helping others on the site, and have never had a problem withdrawing. I e-mailed my tax form and had conformation in 2 days. It makes you wonder if perhaps “someone” is not being honest.

    • mim1213 says:

      they never asked me for any tax form, simply “removed” the money from my SOF account and i’ve never seen it in my paypal account. do you have a confirmation email that i can see that proves that they paid you? i have yet to hear from them regarding my complaints.
      please advise

    • Patrick says:

      Amber,
      I think so too.They gave me a tax form and I faxed it and within a week I was cleared to go. I think these people are either working for other tutoring sites or are just mad they got caught cheating.

  10. Chris Vestuto says:

    I make my living as a tutor and teacher and stumbled across the SOF site the other day quite by accident. I have to say I was horrified.

    Navigate around the site for just few minutes and you will see that a large proportion of the “questions” asked are really blatant requests for a “tutor” to write a paper, do a homework assignment, or even take a test for the student. Many even ask the “tutor” to guarantee that the “tutorial” will receive an A when turned in to the unsuspecting teacher.

    Sean M. must either not spend any time looking at his own website, he must incredibly ignorant as to what constitutes plagiarism, or he must be an unscrupulous liar. The above posts from him certainly don’t sound ignorant, so . . .

  11. Patrick says:

    I have had nothing but amazing experiences with SOF. The staff is amazing and always deposits money within the 4 week time frame they promise. I post original work done by me to help other students who may be struggling. SOF cannot prevent these buyers from turning in the work as their own, they can only prevent people from posting material that is all over the net already, and not their own. I think SOF is a great site and has helped me to help other students.

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