In case you missed this thread over at Search Engine Watch Forums, press release spam has gone mainstream. I’ve noticed dubious releases in sites like PRWeb for years, but I think it’s safe to say that the problem has gotten worse.
Bob Gladstein highlighted this point with a press release he got syndicated as a bit of a joke. Excerpt (italics added):
Experiments for the week included an attempt to determine the efficacy
of the use of search engine submission forms and a study of the
attention spans of editors working for online press release services.
In other news, Gonga and Maya continue to enjoy their birthday gifts,
and this has significantly decreased the amount of work getting
accomplished in the office.
I think this little experiment proves that press release services need to increase quality standards. The way things are now, even terrible press releases with grammatical errors get into Google News (this doesn’t happen through PRWeb, where you need $30 to get into eMediawire, but there are other press release services that get a release into Google News for free).
An SEO’d press release can be a helpful link building tool, though, as it provides a backlink from a contextually relevant page. It can also drive heavy traffic if it gets syndicated in Yahoo! News or Google News. The bottom line: we should all use press release services to get targetted links and traffic, but if abuse continues, the usefulness of this marketing method will decline.