EditorialGuy - 7:22 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)
Nor sure why people resist this or are surprised. a PR is an advertisement
In the publishing and advertising worlds, there's a clear distinction between "earned media" (a.k.a. free media or PR) and "paid media" (advertising). With "earned media" or PR, a company or organization may pay a PR agency or mailing service for distribution of a press release, backgrounder, white paper, etc., but the publication of the story doesn't involve an exchange of money between the PR firm and the publisher--which means that PR is not an advertisement.
On the Web, there's another player in the ballgame: search. A so-called "press release" may have little or nothing to do with getting publicity and everything to do with acquiring PageRank. The challenge for Google and other search engines is in how to distinguish "press releases" from "SEO spam disguised as press releases."