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Last Thursday we ran a test to see which online press release distributors would give us the most coverage and bring us the most traffic to our website per release.  Targeting the UK, we gathered 20 of the most popular press release distributors we could find and published our press release to each of them.

This first table shows us the number of times our press release was republished by each distributor:

Distributor Fee Total Republishes Price per Republish
24-7 Press Release £55.93 31 £1.80
Online PR News £30.87 9 £3.43
PR Fire £99 23 £4.30
PR Web £110 15 £7.33
Marketwire £355 40 £8.88
Response Source £75 5 £15.00
Free-Press-Release £22.65 1 £22.65
PR Leap £62.27 2 £31.14
Press Dispensary £175 1 £175.00
PR Log n/a 1 n/a
PR Inside n/a 1 n/a
My Company PR n/a 0 n/a
Add PR £15.71 0 n/a
Sane PR n/a 0 n/a
Press King n/a 0 n/a
eConsultancy n/a 0 n/a
Press Method n/a 0 n/a

*Our release was declined by 1888PressRelease, while a week on, we’re still in the queue for approval at free-press-release-center.info, and waiting for our article to be approved at digitalmediaonlineinc.com.

To keep a track of our redistributions, we had one unique line of text in each release, whilst the remainder of our story remained the same.  Thus we could search for this in Google to find copies of our release.  And if Google hasn’t picked it up, then it’s pretty much useless as far as I am concerned.

We appear to have received good value in terms of coverage from 24-7 Press Release, whom republished our release on 31 different domains for a total sum of £55.93.  Online PR News, PR Fire, PR Web and Marketwire all worked out below £10 per republish.  Only two of the free press release sites republished our news, and in both instances on just 1 occasion.

Our eyes lit up at this point, as for £1,001.43 we had been published on 17 domains, and republished on a further 129 domains*.

*There was some crossover with some of the distributors republishing to the same domain.

Our coverage was excellent – our release has been published 146 times on the web.  Now to check the statistics…

Distributor Clicks
PR Web 4
My Company PR 3
Online PR News 2
PR Fire 1
Response Source 1
24-7 Press Release 0
Add PR 0
eConsultancy 0
Free-Press-Release 0
Marketwire 0
PR Inside 0
PR Leap 0
PR Log 0
Press Dispensary 0
Press King 0
Press Method 0
Sane PR 0

To our surprise, our £1,001.43 and 146 copies of our release, we have received just 11 clicks in the first week (and not expecting that number to increase significantly now).

Perhaps our title lacked punch?  Perhaps our industry isn’t so popular?  Or perhaps online press releases aren’t the way to go if you’re looking for attention.  For that price, I’m thinking about heading down the social media route now to see if we can get significantly more interest.

I could have concluded our test here, but I decided to search harder for any benefit these online press releases could have given us.

So I checked each of the press releases and made a note of which sites kept our text links on and without adding a nofollow string.  I then divided the cost of the release by the number of domain text links we received:

Distributor Fee Republishes with DoFollow Text Links
24-7 Press Release £55.93 18
Marketwire £355 15
PR Web £110 12
PR Fire £99 11
Response Source £75 5
Online PR News £30.87 3
PR Leap £62.27 1
Press Dispensary £175 1
Free-Press-Release £22.65 0
PR Log n/a 0
PR Inside n/a 0
My Company PR n/a 0
Add PR £15.71 0
Sane PR n/a 0
Press King n/a 0
eConsultancy n/a 0
Press Method n/a 0

Of the 31 occasions our 24-7 Press Release was republished, 18 of these kept our text links in.  Marketwire followed behind, with both PR Web and PR Fire also having a good number of text redistributions.

Of those domains that have kept our text links on, I thought I’d check the homepage Page Rank of these.

In this table, 24-7 Press Release doesn’t fare so well.  The majority of domains our release was republished on, were sites that Google regard as low quality. Of their Page Rank system that goes on a scale of 1-10, Google has 16 of the 19 sites as either PR0 or Unranked.  Whereas the two more expensive and popular distributors, Marketwire and PR Web had distributed our article on a number of high Page Rank websites, each with at least one Page Rank 8 domain.

Distributor Page Rank
n/a 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Marketwire 1 3     1 2 1 5 1 2
24-7 Press Release 3 13         1 2    
PR Fire   4   3 1   3 1    
PR Web 1   1   1 2 3 3 1 1
Online PR News   1 1       1      
Response Source   2 1     1 1   1  
PR Leap 1         1        
Press Dispensary   1       1        
Free-Press-Release             1      
PR Log - - - - - - - - - -
PR Inside - - - - - - - - - -
My Company PR   1                
Add PR - - - - - - - - - -
Sane PR - - - - - - - - - -
Press King   1                
eConsultancy - - - - - - - - - -
Press Method - - - - - - - - - -

One final piece of research was to give these distributors a score.  So I took Smart PageRank’s Page Rank Calculation table and translated their Range into a score, and combined each of the Page Rank’s (PR) into a total score.  For example, a PR8 link is worth 837,339 points, while a PR1 link is only worth 6.  Here are the results:

Distributor  
Marketwire 1972356
PR Web 1089727
Response Source 158198
24-7 Press Release 60395
PR Fire 43036
Online PR News 5039
Free-Press-Release 5033
PR Leap 915
Press Dispensary 915
PR Log 0
PR Inside 0
My Company PR 0
Add PR 0
Sane PR 0
Press King 0
eConsultancy 0
Press Method 0

This new data tells us that both Marketwire and PR Web are significantly superior than the rest of the competition.

Matt Cutts has however previously said that text links in PR Web releases offer no link value in Google.