Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Customers for Old Software

One of my searchbots turned up this nugget of wisdom today from December 14, 2007:
"Auch die Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien nutzt den Plagiarism-Finder: Abgeschriebene Arbeiten aus dem Internet aufspüren!" (The Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration is also using Plagiarism-Finder: Find papers copied from the internet!)

It is published by a "news service", PresseEcho, but it reads more like the advertising for the product, copied liberally from the product home page:

The amusing thing is that it gives the product version 1.3, which is actually the old version we tested in 2004. There was a version 2.0 announced for September, but it has not yet seen the light of day, as far as I know. We offered to test a version, old or new, during our tests in September, but the company declined. This was a shame, as they were the top candidate in 2004.

The tip-off to a journalist worth his salt would be that the most recent "news" on the software site is from 2004, and a screen shot from a 2006 TV interview. This is not really bleeding edge technology.

That the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, supposedly the largest business school in Europe, does not have the business sense to check if they are purchasing recent software and then advertises the fact that they have purchased 55 copies of it says perhaps more about the school that all their fancy web sites and brochures.

The "news" site itself seems to just be an advertising honey pot. There are context ads and a lot of advertising links in the footer of the kind that got the German weekly newspaper "Die Zeit" cut down a page rank or three. So let's give the University the benefit of the doubt and assume the "news" agency dug out an ancient press notice to recycle.

But no: I went off to search the business school site using their Google site search tool. Interesting: the first link is for a review of a paper that is an apparent plagiarism. I wonder if the author of the review knows that his paper is indexed in Google? They do have a nice page on plagiarism detection, that has a link to my portal and mentions that they use Plagiarism-Finder.

A bit further down the list we find the school a paragon of full disclosure, with a list of their software purchases (including the price paid) for 2004. From the looks of this, they only purchased one full license then. The prices paid for other software will surely be of interest to other schools. Continuing on down the list served by Google we find the purchases for 2007: indeed, they paid 5.775,00 € for 55 licenses in October. And a big chunk of cash to Microsoft, but that is another story.

My suggestion to the business school: Try and get a refund for getting sold old software, and turn Google Search off on your web site - or at least keep it out of sensitive information directories. You have some, uh, interesting stuff hung out, and the whole world can see.

1 comment:

  1. In the meantime, we have exchanged the product free of charge for the new version 2.0.

    All customers of the last two years receive a free update.