It appears most of these companies can afford to pay their writers more and offer essays cheaper - but they are happy with their high profit margins. Furthermore, most of their terms & conditions leave them exposed in more ways than one. It would be great to see how many small court cases they fight, if consumers knew their rights.
the customers in this industry are dumb as rocks, and a lot of the companies are run by mobbed-up scumbags (who are also dumb as rocks). a lot of their contracts are about getting the customer to think that the company doesn't have him/her by the short hairs. once the customers take the step of purchasing a "research guide," it becomes a very slippery slope for them.
Do you, or anyone else for that matter know what project management tools or systems these companies use to post their jobs for freelancers to complete? A heads up would be nice, and if a copy of any companies freelance contract can be obtained that would be brilliant.
it varies. you can tell which online sites are run by whom, because they tend to use the same interface. if you want a sample contract, try applying to a few places.