The Ukrainian based startup PlagTracker.com
is an online plagiarism detection service. Basically it checks for a given text i.e. a PHD thesis if similar text content appears anywhere else in the web. The problem is not the fact that content from other text sources gets used in a thesis with proper quotation to the original document but without. ,,plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work.'' [Wikipedia
] In the year 2012 and 2013 several highly promoted German politicians had to resign because of plagiarism. Using PlagTracker is quiet easy - upload the text or enter an Url to check. PlagTracker does the rest for you. It returns a list of web pages that contains similar text to your given document. It's that easy.
We had the opportunity to interview Emilia Sukhova, Support representative of PlagTracker.com
.What problems are you solving with your startup?
PlagTracker solves plagiarism problems for multiple audiences. For students it can check their essays for any plagiarism before they turn it in to their instructor. They can rest assured that their grade will not be lowered for any accidental plagiarism nor will they waste any time rewriting their work. For teachers and educators, PlagTracker is great because student’s work can be checked for plagiarism because they have the ability to understand which of their students worked on their own and who used others’ sources. For site owners and webmasters it could be helpful because all search engines are fighting for quality output and are punishing sites with non-unique, stolen content. Therefore, website owners should check their content with PlagTracker before adding it on their site. This way, they know that Google won’t lower their ranking, their site won’t lose traffic, and they will gain revenue. When did you start working on your startup?
Work on this startup began in July 2011. It was publicly launched in September 2011.How did you come up with the idea?
Plagtracker is a startup that evolved from our university graduation project a few years ago. It all started when we were graduating and had to pick something for our graduation project. We thought that a system that was able to check text content matches was going to be something interesting to work with. A few months after the graduation project was completed, we were happy to be graduates while having jumped onto something interesting.
The thing was that our plagiarism checker was in a very poor shape back then. It was literally just raw code with one action button and window with the scanned text. But some students on campus started to use it to check their work for plagiarism. Later on, a few teachers asked us if it would be okay for them to use it as well. This was when we decided to get together and focus on this project.
Later, we researched the plagiarism-checking market and discovered that the niche was not complete yet. There were lots of paid and free services but all of them were outdated services from the 90s with poor designs and demanded lots of required information from the users.How big is the market? Are you already making revenue?
The plagiarism-checking market is very big. It has several audiences but unfortunately, it is very hard to say how much it’s worth in monetary terms. We only know that in the US there are 55 million students, 3.8 million teachers, and 68 million active WordPress blogs. Yes, PlagTracker already makes money. We have very promising growth and in the next six months, we plan to double our revenue.Do you have a co-founder and if so, how did you meet?
Svetlana Khimka and Victor Krivenko are co-founders with Alexsandr Shmigeliuk as the CTO and Timur Akhmadov as the CMO. Like I already mentioned earlier, we studied together. What are the plans for the next 3 or 6 months?
In the next six months, we will work towards improving our product and its marketing. In the nearest future, we plan to launch a teacher’s account (like on TurnItIn) and to aggressively enter with that offer on the market. At the present moment, TurnItIn isn’t available at many colleges and schools because of their high prices. We also plan to do active marketing API for site owners and webmasters plus more general PlagTracker branding.