The standard fee to release something via PR Web is $40. The more you pay, the higher you'll be on their list of press releases. I've been on PR Web for 3-4 years and had never really gone beyond $100 or so. This time, I decided to see what would happen if I paid enough money to get the #1 spot on their front page. The cost was $420, which doesn't include the $100 I paid to have them interview me for their podcast service.
Keep in mind that it's not always $420. You may get the same spot for less, or it may cost you more. I originally posted the release a few days ahead of time, so I had the #1 position for a little less, but as more and more companies came in with press releases for the date I wanted, I had to add a few bucks to keep my top position.
After two weeks, the results are...
118,357 Reads - This is how many times the press release was accessed from PRWeb.com and other distribution points where they have the ability to measure traffic. This number does not include the number of journalists who received the release via email. In addition, there are online distribution points which cannot be tracked. This number does include RSS measurements.
1,235 Pickups (Estimated) - This number estimates the number of times the press release was accessed by a consumer / media person. This does not tell how many times the story appears on other websites, blogs, or in the media. It simply attempts to estimate interest in the release.
6 Prints - This is the number of times that someone has printed the press release. This is measured by the number of times that the "printer friendly version" link is pressed. In reality, only a small percentage of users actually click this link before printing a release, so this number is probably worthless in getting an idea of how popular the release is.
1 Forward - This is the number of times that someone has forwarded the press release to a third party using the link on the press release. Like the "print" number, I don't know that this matters much.
149 PDF Downloads - The number of times the release was downloaded as a PDF document.
Was it worth it? I did a lot of things to promote my book, so it's hard to say exactly what worked and what didn't, but it's worth noting that the sales rank on Amazon was between 3000-5000 within a few hours. I also added over 2000 people to my Law of Attraction website, which gave away a download of the book for free.
Not as good as I'd like, but enough to take care of money I spent on it.
And keep in mind that it's not over... Just a couple of days ago, my publicist got a call from reporter who wanted to interview me, which was directly related to this promotion. And people are still reprinting the press release and linking to my site.
So overall, it was a great experience. But will I do it again? Probably not at this level.
My advice, especially if you're on a budget, is that you put your press release on PR Web, but only for the $40 level or whatever it costs you to get them to submit to Google and other news services. This is a good start and will give you momentum you can work from. I'm not convinced paying 10x the money for what is basically the same service (with the exception of your listing order) is worth it. Although I did make my money back, I certainly didn't see 10x the results.