The U.K.-based firm Vitis PR sought to answer this question by testing 60 of these free sites. The company issued a series of press releases through the various sites and evaluated them based on five factors, notably whether the release appeared on Google and whether journalists and bloggers actually paid attention.
For each service, Vitis submitted four press releases, two about its clients and two about the firm itself.
“Free PR distribution websites have been getting more and more popular in light of the current economic climate,” the study said. “But, which sites are a scam, which actually offer you the free PR distribution service you want to get your release online, and which offer you even more, such as links and syndication to other sites?”
According to the study, none of the services proved effective at piquing the interest of journalists.
“To be fair, we did expect this result,” the study explained. “It is rare enough for someone to pick up news from some of the premium paid-for news wires and given the volume of free press releases being pumped out these days we would have been (pleasantly) surprised to find any pick up of our releases.”