The State of Plagiarism Today in 2018 Image(Note: This is a post following up on a recent survey that many of you took. It’s not a standard post on this site and, if it doesn’t interest you, please don’t despair as we will be back to our usual posting on Thursday. For those who are curious, it’s a look at where the site is and where I’m heading with it based on the feedback I got.)

Over the past week I sent out a survey to subscribers of the newsletter and followers on Facebook and Twitter. All in all, exactly 100 people responded (making percentages and respondent counts the same). While that amount isn’t a large percentage of the site’s followers, if we assume that it’s a good sample, it’s more than enough to get some good data.

I originally wasn’t going to share the findings of the survey but a couple of people who took me asked if I could. Since the whole point of the exercise is to listen to what people want, this seemed like a good place to start.

So, with that in mind, we’re going to take a look at what people said and what, may change with the site moving forward.

Question 1: How Long Have You Been Reading Plagiarism Today?

The survey began with a couple of basic, non-marketing oriented questions about the submitter. The first was simply how long the submitter had been reading the site. Plagiarism Today is a surprisingly old site, first launched in August 2005, so I was curious how many had been around for a while.

Turns out not many.

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Of the four people who had been reading the site more than 10 years, I know two of them personally. But still, most (61%) people had been reading the site for 1-5 years, which is nothing to sneeze at when it comes to a website.

Question 2: What Industry Are You From?

The next question looked at the industry the submitter was from. The goal was to determine what types of content might be most useful. However, the answers were extremely varied.

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Divided more roughly, 39% of respondents were in education (with 30% in higher education). 29% were creatives with writer taking the lead at 17% in that category (despite Google’s wonky coloring) and 7% were in the legal field. The remaining 20% were “Other”.

Question 3: How Did You First Learn About the Site?

The next question looked at how the respondent first learned about the site. The answers there were also extremely mixed.

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Most, 32%, couldn’t remember (which is completely understandable). Of those who could they were divided almost equally between Google (24%) and Social Media (23%). Personal recommendations made up another 14%.

Question 4: How Important is Each Type of Content To You?

In this question, we looked at six different types of content including copyright law explainers, plagiarism explainers, copyright news, plagiarism news, 3 Count columns and YouTube videos.

If we look at the first four categories, they all fared roughly the same when looking at those who answered 4 or 5. Copyright news had 70, plagiarism news had 69, Copyright law explainers had 68 and plagiarism explainers had 63. This gives a slight advantage to news-oriented articles and to copyright-related works.

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3 Count columns and YouTube videos fared much worse getting 49 and 39 such votes respectively.

Question 5: What Type(s) Of Content Would You Like to See More of?

This was an optional short answer question and there are no images to share. Most of the comments seemed to think that the balance is well done. There were some great article ideas I’m keeping under wraps for now.

Most of the criticism was that people wanted things specific to them, whether it’s their country (Canada got a couple of mentions) or their specific case. All in all, some great suggestions I will be using.

Question 6: Overall, How Satisfied Are You With Plagiarism Today’s Content?

In general, people seemed to be very happy with the content on the site (which isn’t shocking giving that they are currently readers and more than 60% had been around for a year). When asked directly, 81% said they rated their satisfaction 4 or 5.

 

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Obviously, I’m very happy with this and hope that those in the 3 and below will change their mind in 2019.

Question 7: Ideally, How Many Posts Per Week Would You Like from PlagiarismToday?

The next question asked how many full PT posts (not 3 Count columns) the submitter would like.

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This one was interesting because the current number, 2, was one of the least popular with people being almost equally split between one more, 33%, and one fewer, 29%. There was little interest more than 3 posts per week.

Question 8: Would You Be in Favor of Ceasing the 3 Count in Favor of More Long-Form Posts?

The next question looked at how interested people were and discontinuing the 3 Count series in favor of more long-form content. The results were, in a word, mixed.

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A plurality, 40%, were neutral with everyone equally divided on either side. The 1s and 2s made up 31% and the 4s and 5s made up 29%.

The result is a near-perfect bell curve other than the fact there were more 1s (19) than 5s (8).

Question 9: Do You Have Any Broader Comments or Suggestions You’d Like to Add?

This was another optional short answer question and only had 35 responses. Most were positive encouragement (which is greatly appreciated) but there was also several comments in support of the 3 Count or something similar.

There were also several calls for me to denounce or stand up against various groups including certain countries, companies, etc.

Still, a lot of great information in there and a lot of great support.

So What Will Change?

Looking at the numbers and the feedback, especially as I write this, I don’t see this survey as a drive for major change. Though the 3 Count isn’t as popular as long-form content it does have its fans and would have to be replaced by something.

Once you factor in that there’s not much of a drive for significantly more posts, it seems we’re largely on the correct course.

So what will I be changing? There are a few smaller shifts I’ll be making based upon these findings:

  1. YouTube Videos No Longer in Newsletter: I’d long suspected that the YouTube videos (as rare as they are) and the site have different audiences, this seems to prove it. I’ll share the videos on social media but leave them out of the newsletter. It is easily the least important content type, even if some do reasonably well on YouTube itself.
  2. Focus on Even Division of Content: Averaged out, the copyright and plagiarism content have about equal popularity and the audiences are about the same. I have a tendency to go on copyright and plagiarism runs with the content so I’ll focus more on variety week to week. I’ll also focus more on content that overlaps between the two.
  3. Better Focus on Social Media: Finally, I’m going to start focusing more on social media, including both my current homes on Facebook and Twitter as well as seeking new places. Though traffic shows that Google is the clear leader in driving new visitors, social media has driven a disproportionate number of longer-term readers, which is the end goal.

All in all, nothing significant but hopefully some subtle changes both to make the site more useful to everyone and keep attracting new readers.

Bottom Line

Obviously, feedback doesn’t in here and is an ongoing process. If you missed out on the survey but would still like to send your thoughts, please do!

If you have something you want to add, please head over to the contact page and let me know. I appreciate all of the input I can get.

To that end, thank you all for filling out the survey and contributing. It was incredibly useful and will go a long way to helping this site continue to improve!

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