Lee Odden

PRWeb Discontinues Free Press Releases

Big news from PRWeb’s David McInnis to all PRWeb account holders last night. Free press release distribution will cease as of Oct 23rd. The new packages are as follows:

SEO – $80
This is the distribution level that has set the standard for search engine optimized press release distribution for the last five years. In order to provide a difference for our $80 users, we’re making some clear changes we believe will provide beneficial differences between SEO and the next level.
* To reduce noise, we are creating a dedicated page for our $80 product. Less competition on the page means more visibility.
* We are also streamlining the submission process for this level, reducing the time it takes to upload your press release on PRWeb.
SEO with Social Media – $120
This package incorporates all of the SEO features from the “SEO” distribution, plus all of PRWeb’s social media features including our patent pending TrackBacks/PingBacks and PR Tag Clouds. Other features available at this level include Technorati tagging, “Quotables” and social bookmarking. (If you haven‚Äôt taken advantage of these new features, I encourage you to turn them on. Your press releases‚Äô performance improvement can be significant). Also look for your release in Pheedo RSS and Blog network. First-page positioning on PRWeb is guaranteed the day of your release.
Advanced Online Visibility – $200
This distribution option gives you access to all of the enhanced SEO and social media functionality, coupled with new tools including our exclusive eBook creation utility and our newly enhanced statistics. We have spent the last year re-thinking and re-vamping the way we measure online visibility. Our Advanced Online Visibility program gives you incisive leadership in your media campaigns, the broadest toolset and the very best positioning on PRWeb.com.
I hope to talk to David McInnis about more details including revised press release statistics later today.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. There’s always PRleap Lee.

    It’s just that free releases can’t include URLs.

  2. I was actually happy to see this

  3. Exactly! Getting rid of the free service will reduce the amount of spammy content getting distributed.

    We haven’t used the free option with PRWeb for several years so I think it only has a positive effect on companies that are serious about using PRWeb as a marketing tool.

  4. I beleive this is good news for PR Web and for those of us who take online PR seriously. The free press releases led to nothing but spam and for those of us who have always paid it makes little difference except it might get rid of some of the clutter and give more visibility to decent PR. PR Web did an amazing thing and I have had clients interviewed by major publications for just one $80 press release. The free press releases and a lack of quality checking turned PR Web into a link farm which was a real shame as it has so many great features and still does. Perhaps now Google will index their Press releases again 🙂

    Let us know what David says about the new features. I dont mind paying more and the $120 option looks like a winner.

    By the ways I wont be in Vegas but I will be at Ad-Tech New York. Dont forget to take my picture again I enjoyed my moment of fame!!!!!

  5. I actually didn’t realize that there was a free option, heh.

    So this should be good, less spammy stuff. Good move.

  6. Speaking of optimized press releases, I’m surprised that BusinessWire has taken so long to produce an SEO-friendly pr distro tool. Anyone tried their service yet? I still really like PRWeb myself…

  7. Erica, Business Wire will be licensing PRWeb’s platform, not developing their own. If you are thinking of the NewsForce optimization tool, that’s an optimization tool that interfaces now or in the near future, with the regular Business Wire distribution service. They are not the same thing.

  8. Ah. Yes, me confused, thanks for the clarification! I’ve liked PRWeb for a long time. 🙂

  9. Yeah, but it’s realy not PR is it? They call them SEO packages, so no matter what it’s still all gonna basically be spam.

    Why don’t they just call it SEOWeb instead of PRWeb?

  10. No, it’s not PR, it’s a tactic. Just like a press release that is not “optimized” is just a tactic. I mean, if you don’t pitch journalists, sending out a press release by itself is like throwing spaghetti at the wall. It can get SEO benefits, but real PR benefits are often hit/miss.

    It is interesting that the packages were named “SEO”, but that is what’s hot in the traditional PR industry. They’re just catching on I guess.

  11. “if you don

  12. Hi skore – That’s great to hear. But as you point out it’s not that common. There are so many factors involved, especially how newsworthy the announcement is in the release, how well it’s written and timing. I think if people paid more attention to those things, they could squeeze out more media pickups. But if they add pitching, then the success rate goes WAY up.

  13. Trust me I agree completely Lee – I was quoted in USA Today and the AP this week – which went out to over 150 different papers/magazines and none of that came from press releases. Personally – I have never used press releases to garner press attention but we have been able to use them creatively for clients to attract journalists.

    Great job on this post about this BTW.

  14. Thanks skore, we’re on the same page for sure. We absolutely value press releases and see results from their distribution. My PR group probably sends out 30 or more releases per month via PRWeb. Pricing changes do not affect us at all. In fact, over time, we continue to spend more and more on PRWeb.

    What’s cool about PRWeb is exactly the benefit you mention: Being able to creatively attract journalist. This is especially true with the social media aspects of PRWeb.

    So I should qualify my previous statement and say that “routine” press release distribution is like throwing spaghetti. Creative and innovative distribution features like the new media press release format and social media features CAN get productive results.

  15. “Creative and innovative distribution features like the new media press release format and social media features CAN get productive results.”

    Exactly – something I’m sure you guys are really good at!

  16. Avatar Mark Alan Effinger says

    Hi Lee,

    Reducing the clutter of free releases is another great step in improving PRWeb channel integrity.

    I started using PRWeb in 1998 BECAUSE they were free… and because they were the only game in town for online releases distribution.

    But by the time McInnis started offering upgrade options, it was clear the performance benefits of a few dollars in the kitty outweighed a mass of free drivel.

    This is sort of like refining the niche: when you don’t have freeloaders abusing your system, your system eventually finds a more targeted audience.

    I’m behind this wholeheartedly. To those of us who’ve been paying for years, this is both good news and no effect whatsoever on our clients.

    Mark Alan Effinger

  17. I have always had the best luck with Eworldwire. They hit the search engines and yes are indexed in Google. They are also in many top website such as News Blaze and Topix. In addtion different from PRweb they are a wire service so they blanket the media like PRNewswire and Business Wire. I usually choose the Major Newswire service for $99 they have others and depending on my client I sometimes upgrade. Its only $19 more than PRwebs lowest service and it gets to places like the AP and Reuters. I also notice it helps my clients with search engine rankings. You do have to be careful as they are selective about what they publish and do not allow something that closely smells like SPAM.

  18. The good thing is it will prevent a lot of spam; sadly it will also affect small businesses that were putting up genuine press releases. PRWeb could have been creative with the monetization of the free releases, that would have paid for the editorial and other infrastructure costs. It’s not that some of the paid releases are of top-notch quality— one can easily find innumerable releases that are nothing more than spam.

  19. Right Manoj, but one of the easiest ways to filter out low quality is to increase the price of entry. With the sheer volume of releases that PRWeb sends out, this is a logical first step. Also, the free releases did not offer much benefit anyway. Their only visibility was on the prweb.com site. They are/were not distributed or included in the feeds.

  20. Avatar Robert Matthews says

    I also recently learned about eworldwire.com from a group I belong to. They are like the best kept secret. What I really like from them are the free clipping report so I can show my client where they are including search engines. Also they give me one log-in to manage all of my clients from one location. I stopped using PRweb some time ago after a Reuters journo told me anything going out from PRWeb losses credibility as it is labeled as SPAM.

  21. Robert, if ewordlwire is such a secret, I doubt anyone in the media assigns any more or less credibility to releases distributed through their service than any other including PR.com, PRWeb, PRLeap, PRZoom and many others.

  22. Avatar Mark Alan Effinger says

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for the insights from your worldview.

    I performed a competitive analysis for a European PR event last year, including PRWeb and eWorldWire.

    I was personally a bit confused as to the results: eWorldWire had so little real PR and online PR distribution (in comparison) that is made for a pretty lopsided report. The report included:

    1) Total mentiones in search engines
    2) Total mentions in Blog Searches/Technorati
    3) Total RSS feed distributions/syndications
    4) Total mentions in News search engines
    5) Alexa and Hitwise traffic rankings
    6) Press statistics for individual press releases

    In only one spot did eWorldWire come close to PRWeb: PRWeb’s AmbosMedios (PRWeb’s Spanish-speaking newswire). In that case, eWorld’s English news beat PRWeb’s Spanish news by a hair.

    As for “media credibility”, I’ve walked the halls of too many tradeshows, spoken with too many corporate and individual users, and continue to write and distribute PR daily through PRWeb, with outstanding results both on and offline. I believe that there is still some resentment from old-school PR folks on their disintermediation via web-centric PR. But that’s regarding ALL online releases, not just PRWeb.

    If you’d like to chat more, please feel free to email me directly and I’ll be glad to cover this in more detail.

    Warm regards,
    Mark Alan Effinger

  23. I am with Mark on this. The PR and publicity benifits of PR Web far outweigh the downsides. Many PR Companies find the whole online PR issue intimidating. We have taken Press Releases for clients that been distributed to top media outlets by the PR agency and used PR web. The exposure from the PR Web has often been so much greater. We have real time examples of clients being contacted by the New York Post and USA today to name but two from our Press Releases. Yes that unusual but no more unusual than the take ups by journalists on tradtional press release distribution.

  24. Yeah, there’s more than a couple PRWeb fans around here. 🙂

    I first used PRWeb in 2000 and then really started using it again frequently in 2003 in combination with SEO campaigns. Now we send 15 – 40 releases per month.(for clients)

    Without getting great results, we wouldn’t be committing that kind of volume to any single wire service.

  25. Avatar Mark Alan Effinger says

    I couldn’t agree more, Lee.

    One element I believe many SEO folks might miss (forgive me if I’m steeping on anyone’s toes here): Spamming a release or releases through multiple wire services is more than wrong: you’re missing the layered SEO value, and losing SEO value through duplicate content.

    One of the technical elements I picked up early (about the 6th release I did for a client using PRWeb), is that each release within the same RSS feed becomes a link on the bottom of the current release.

    So by staying on PRWeb, I’ve created a stack of releases for each category that jump out at the reader (and at the search engines) and beg to be read. I can directly show the momentum this approach brings to my client’s bottom line in terms of sales.

    It’s a powerfully simple element that David McInnis implemented very early on.

    Have a great week, Lee. Will I see you at Blog Business Summit?

    Mark Alan Effinger

  26. Unfortunately, I will not make it to the BBS. They contacted me to speak actually, but I never did connect with them. Say hi to Chris Pirillo and Dave Taylor for me though. 🙂

  27. Avatar Mark Alan Effinger says

    Will do, Lee.

    And just keep in mind: we won’t be returning with a tan or any other indication that we left home.

    If you’re really lucky, we might send you some SWAG.


  28. Is there a free Press Release service worthy at all? I have a small business and can’t really afford to pay for my PR at this time.

  29. See my first comment.

  30. Avatar Mark Alan Effinger says

    Let me see if I can address dual entries on this one:

    1) B. Rock: Is there a free press service worthy at all? Maybe. It depends what you want. If you’re looking to gain online visibility, credibility and brand positioning, I suggest you maybe look for a budget item you can pull from to purchase inexpensive press release distribution ($80-$200 per release is pretty affordable. I pull from my online marketing budget, Starbuck’s budget, and I quit smoking 32 years ago, saving me a bunch of money that I can use to fund my PR and press release distribution efforts).

    In counseling many hundreds of startups over the last 20 years, I’ve found so many who weren’t committed enough to their business to forego some of the conveniences they had before their startup in order to achieve success (I’m not pointing fingers: I know nothing of you or your business, just my experience).

    I literally lived in the back of a health club, in the garage, when I built and sold my first company. Those 35 degree winter nights were enough to keep my nose to the grindstone and make that company come alive.

    That, and I really wanted a toilet within the same building.

    2) Christian: Glad you’re having success with your preferred service. I used the service in 2003, and as I was reading through their site, realized the level of plagiarism they had stooped to challenged my integrity. I made numerous emails to the founders, with no response (I was seeking to purchase or partner with them at the time, and maybe help clean up their system a bit).

    To no avail. I’m not anti these folks. I’m sure they’re probably OK guys. But I have a personal challenge when it comes to integrity issues in regards to how they run their business. As a real cheerleader for startups, I want to see innovation coupled to integrity. Blatant ripoff’s of the leading online PR platform, word-for-word, does the industry a disservice.

    Just my two cents.
    Best of success,
    Mark Alan Effinger

  31. Mark,

    Thanks….I appreciate the advice.

    B. Rock

  32. Free PRweb was useful when I first started my business, but the $80 you spend easily pays for itself within a week.

  33. Who does the best press releases?

    [email protected]

  34. Avatar Mark Alan Effinger says

    Hi Colin,

    I’d like more info to go on here. Based on your questions, there are a couple of definitions:

    Q1: Who’s best/leading at DISTRIBUTING press releases?
    A1: PRWeb.com for online distribution and direct-to-journalists. Consider BusinessWire.com (a PRWeb partner) for Public Disclosure PR (public companies). Billboard.com now uses PRWeb’s platform to distribute press releases to both the PRWeb list (and all of their syndication partners)as well as to Billboard’s select list of entertainment journalists and editors.

    Q2: Who CREATES the best press releases?
    A2: Lee (the voice behind this blog), myself and company, and LOTS of other folks can help you compose winning, search-optimized PR.

    PRWeb also has a great in-house team to handle overall PR editing and optimizing. Each of their editors is trained to craft and optimize your press release to work well on the web — PRWeb’s area of expertise.

    Let me know if that answers your questions, and feel free to connect with any additional questions.

    Best regards,
    Mark Alan Effinger

  35. Delia, you epitomize spam.

    PRWeb established the standard in the online press release space. The company is also responsible for more startup and entrepreneurial successes than you can count.

    Really. Ask and I’ll get you a list.

    Warm regards,
    Mark Alan Effinger


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