Verdict: On the whole, £2.99 for one go of their scanner wouldn’t be good value for money … even if it was working, so it’s probably quicker and easier to give up and move on.
|What are the subscription options? e.g. free, paid only, paid and free. If paid options, what length of subscription/price structure is offered?||Online checker may not be used without a subscription. No trial or free credits.1 submission costs £2.99.|
|Maximum word count? (if any)||Maximum 5,000 words per submission.|
|Resubmissions allowed? If so, is this limited?||Each resubmission or scan costs £2.99.|
|Type of scanner E.g. software download, copy and paste, upload document online. Say if multiple options are offered.||Two options available: “Copy and paste’ online scanner; File uploader.|
|Sources checked E.g. internet, any specific journal databases mentioned, any electronic book databases such as Google docs mentioned, past submissions from other students etc||Website – no words altered; Website – some words removed; Website – some words changed; Website – fully paraphrased; Online pdf; Electronic book.|
|File types supported E.g. doc, docx, rtf, open office, pdfs, ppts||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Extra features? E.g. grammar checker, spelling checker||None.|
|Support offered? E.g. phone, email etc||There is an FAQ section as well as a contact link and online chat facility (although not always manned, even during office hours). When contacted by email, a reply was received within 24 hours.|
|Report / results|
|Type of report Downloadable? Shareable?||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Side by side comparison to plagiarism?||No.|
|Accuracy of results – Which sections were detected and which were not (make sure the correct source is identified)|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from a website source||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from an online pdf||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Some words removed – copied and pasted from a website source||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Some words changed – copied and pasted from a website source||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Full paraphrasing – copied and pasted from a website source||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from an electronic book||Unable to test – see general observations.|
|General observations Ease of use, overall experience. If other features were included (e.g. spelling, grammar check), how easy were they to use and how useful were they?|
|Despite having a professional looking website that’s clearly laid out and easy to understand, when tested on three separate occasions, Passproof.com was found not to be working. The service doesn’t offer any free trials and users must register and sign up; however, this is much harder than it sounds. On the first attempt, all the required fields were completed but when this was processed, it returned an error saying I must specify the report preference and attach a file. I’d already done this but tried again – the same problem occurred. I gave up and moved on to other scanners. A few days later the site was tested again and exactly the same thing happened. To be certain it was a fault with the website, I logged on to another computer, running a different version of windows and internet explorer, but again the same thing happened: it reported an error, saying I hadn’t filled in all the required fields (which I definitely had). I even tried uploading the test documents in a variety of different file formats, but nothing worked no matter what I tried.|
I contacted the website using their online chat facility, it was offline (despite it being during office hours) so I sent an email outlining my problem. A reply was received within 24 hours, apologising for the inconvenience and asking me to send the file by email. I did this, but did not hear back by the time these reviews concluded. As such, it was not possible to test their online scanner and how effective it may or may not be.
The FAQ section makes clear that no kind of human intervention is involved, however, so the price quoted is simply for one scan. It is also noted, “the fee imposed is an administration fee for scanning your project, and not a fee for plagiarism checking services” and this is indeed a curious comment to make given that the purpose of the scan is supposedly to detect plagiarism. On the whole, £2.99 for one go of their scanner wouldn’t be good value for money, even if it was working, so it’s probably quicker and easier to give up and move on.