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Google is to stop taking ads for companies that offer essay writing services to university students.

Many institutions in recent years have complained about the availability of proxy writing services that allow candidates to buy stock or custom manuscripts from website retailers.

Google, in a stand against plagiarism, wrote to the companies to inform them that, from June, it will refuse to take their internet ads.

A search for "university essays" at Google UK today turned up sponsored links from EssayRelief.co.uk, EssayFinder.com, EssayAgency.co.uk, CustomEssays.co.uk, ProfEssays.com, MasterPapers.com, Coursework.info and NonPlagiarizedEssays.co.uk - each offering coursework from as little as £4.99.

But one such company, EssayWriter.co.uk, criticised the move. MD Matthew Wilson told BBC News that Google accounts for 80% of its traffic and that his essay service provides a valuable learning and revision guide for students.

The York-based company has been operating for four years and employs a team of essay writers.

Google's AdWords content policy includes a long list of unacceptable content that bans adverts for weapons, hacking, drugs, violence, gambling, fireworks, alcohol, prostitution and more.

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