jimsthoughts - 2:59 pm on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)
Press Releases are similar to Directories...there's a couple of "real ones" and thousands of ones that were built for the sole purpose of trying to look like a press release service website built for the purpose of giving people backlinks. Often I see backlinks from tons of "press release syndication" sites...all on the same IP block, all by the same owner...
Matt Cutts has said a few times that press releases won't pass pagerank, but I'll admit, that that was proven not 100% true [searchengineland.com...]
(although the example above probably worked because of the "low quality pr sites" that still pass something and haven't been "blocked"...but those same low quality PR sites are things that "could" get you in trouble with penguin.
We occasionally work with Press Release companies....and were in the past I might have chosen to do a press release and to submit it to thousands of places, today I'd choose a much much smaller group of sites to submit the press release to....and I'd figure that none of those will pass any link value. My goal would be to submit press releases about real news that you feel others would be interested in (not marketing pieces), and then, the goal is to have your piece picked up by real journalist and real editors and have it spread "naturally" in their (journalist) own words.
If Press Releases are done for branding, Great. If Press releases are done for "links" then I think it could be considered spam by google.