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TeeGee
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« on: January 30, 2009, 04:44:56 am »

As few people have requested it - here's my experience on using various press release distribution services I posted in JohnyZupper's Pricing Tips thread.

I send lots of press releases both at my job and for my own stuff. I have used most of the popular services. Here's my experience on each:

http://www.gamespress.com/ - a free PR distribution service and source of news for game journalists. It's free to submit your story, so there's no reason not to do it every time you release something. The effects aren't as good as when using a paid service, but still some outlets will pick up your game.

http://www.softpressrelease.com - the most expensive and theoretically the best PR service. In practice, the differences between this and cheaper equivalents are not that big. We used it for the bigger news on our casual games. The effect was slightly better than when using other websites, but I'm not completely convinced that it was worth it - sending a game-related PR is $140, so a bit pricey.
Then again, I only sent news on casual games through them. It might be just that their contacts are more hardcore/general gaming oriented.
Their submission system isn't very convinient, as releases aren't handled automatically - sometimes you have to wait for their employee to contact you and send your stuff.

http://www.gamerelease.net/ - GameProducer.net's PR distribution service. It has one huge advantage - you pay around $100 and can use them as many times as you want for one year. If you plan to make many releases to build up hype or if you expect many updates to your game, they are a very good choice. They will always get you further than a free service and $100 is not that much for an unlimited amount of releases. Their submission system is also very convinient and fully automatic.

http://www.mitorahgames.com/Submit-Game-Press-Release.html - Mitorah games is a small indie company offering to send PRs through their own contact list. I sent the news on one of the MAGI updates through them and the results were great. My traffic was slowly dying back then and two days after the release, I've got a concerned letter from my web host, saying that I suddenly started using too much bandwidth (20GB per day in demo downloads).
However, it might be just that their contacts were perfectly suited for my needs - MAGI is a strategy/rpg and these guys specialize in this kind of games. Still, I recommend them. Even if just to support fellow indies trying to make some extra buck.
The price is very competitive at $60-$85, though there's no automated system there - you have to get in contact with Tero and exchange few emails to get your story out.

http://prmac.com/ - if you plan to release for Mac, I totally recommend these guys. Their submission system is very convinient and handy (the best one I used), the release costs only around $15 and your news are always picked very fast by all the major Mac outlets. They also have excellent customer support and really try to make sure you are satisfied.

In general, sending press releases is always a good idea. Even if you decide to use a free service or just sign up for a year of gamerelease.net, for the little amount of work it takes, it will probably get you more links and visibility than any other form of marketing you can do in so little time. And you always have that chance of finding some journalist really interested in your stuff.

That said, I see a general decline in traffic gotten through PRs. It might be that there's just too many of them or that the magazines are cutting the amount of content they put out at the cost of indie games. As for now, if it isn' something really exciting (like a new game announcement or premiere), we just use http://www.gamespress.com/ and http://www.gamerelease.net/.
It's much better with Macs though. Even pretty unsignificant news released through http://prmac.com/ have some nice effect on our traffic and we try to use them whenever possible.

Hope it helps.
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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2009, 01:18:45 am »

Nice one, this is very welcome!
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2009, 02:11:11 am »

Thanks for this- will check it out in the future :D
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2009, 02:11:45 pm »

Nice list, thanks TeeGee! Smiley

I think gamerelease is a bit more expensive now, or soon will be. Anyone who wants in on that at $100 should check it out asap
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2009, 06:09:02 pm »

Thank you this is very helpful.
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TeeGee
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2009, 12:49:31 am »

No problem Smiley. And yeah, Cray is right - GameRelease.net now doubled their price. I would still recommend them though. If you are going to send lots of stuff, they still come the cheapest.
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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 12:22:21 pm »

Thanks, TeeGee, this has been very useful Beer!
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mattfromtexas
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 05:16:07 pm »

TeeGee makes a good point.  But it should be known that there are "Tier One" distribution companies and then there are "Tier Two".  Most of the ones you listed are Tier Two, which means you do not get near the distribution level... in other words, your news doesn't get picked up.

The Tier One Distribution Companies are:
* http://www.Businesswire.com
* http://www.PRNewswire.com
* http://www.Newswire.net
* http://www.Globenewswire.com
* http://www.PRWeb.com

The prices vary and so does the customer service.  I use Newswire.net because they have a team of independent journalists who write follow up articles on every press release you send.  So, basically, your release gets automatically picked up by the media... they offer this service for free with any press release sent. 

Globenewswire is also a great service.  They are reasonably priced and their customer service is unparalleled. 

-mattfromtexas
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2009, 03:09:33 pm »

Any more advice/experience to share on press release distribution services? Newswire sounds pretty interesting, but $400 is pretty steep for me right now. What services have gotten you guys the most bang for your buck? Any help is appreciated.

-Adam
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2009, 03:51:32 pm »

What about http://vgsmart.com vs Mitorah? Vgsmart says it sends out to over 800 contacts and writes the whole thing for you, all for $100, while Mitorah only co-writes it, and only has around 200 contacts, for $90. Is there anything in particular that makes Mitorah the better option?

-Adam
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2009, 07:39:05 am »

I don't think Joe still offers the VGSmart services does he? That could be a pretty major difference.
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 11:18:39 am »

Yeah, I think he doesn't. I guess I should update the original post one day. Some stuff changed during this year.
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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2009, 07:36:58 pm »

Yeah he said he's too busy these days, unfortunately.
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2009, 05:54:03 am »

What about http://vgsmart.com vs Mitorah? Vgsmart says it sends out to over 800 contacts and writes the whole thing for you, all for $100, while Mitorah only co-writes it, and only has around 200 contacts, for $90. Is there anything in particular that makes Mitorah the better option?

-Adam

technically the number doesn't actually matter. you could get 10,000 press contacts easily just by collecting the emails of the editors of every online 'zine and blog there is, but it won't necessarily help unless they're targeted (have reviewed indie games or at least games). also a lot of the people with numbers in the thousands inflate it with out of date emails and multiple editors to the same place (e.g. listing every single editor on kotaku as a separate contact).
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 06:42:17 am »

Thanks, this post is really helpful. Didn't know gamerelease.net can be used unlimited times in a year. Thanks for letting me know.
I tried gamepress.com few times before, only 1 time they picked up my news, which was quite good: it appeared on gamasutra and some other major sites, but they just copy paste my entire sentences without any modification or added comments.

Cheers. Beer!
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 04:30:10 pm »

By the way I've just checked gamerelease.net, the price is now $150 http://www.gameproducer.net/insiders
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TeeGee
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 04:49:08 pm »

To be honest, I think that press releases are wasted time and money these days. At least for indies.
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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2012, 03:33:20 pm »

My current plan (I'm not finished with the game so it's just thinking) is to only target some specific websites and people I know. Like, being smart about who I'm talking to, instead of maximizing the number of people I'm talking to.

I don't know if it will work as expected though.
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2012, 09:59:40 am »

To be honest, I think that press releases are wasted time and money these days. At least for indies.

Had it not been for a press release via GameBizWire I did for my latest game, I would have never gotten the Giantbomb quick look that immensely helped boost sales and traffic. So I respectfully disagree. Smiley
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TeeGee
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2012, 10:26:50 am »

My experience lately is that personalized emails and direct contact always beats automated PR distribution. Formal press releases are boring, nobody wants to write them, nobody wants to read them. They are mostly re-posted by bots or ignored, and it's time consuming and pricey to do them.

I also noticed that once you get to a certain notoriety threshold (or you have some genuinely interesting game), your marketing effort stops being so important as the press gets interested anyway. For example -- my freeware game Co-Op got more coverage that most of the commercial games I've ran PR for. It was only a small jam project, so I haven't promoted it at all, and it still landed on RPS, indiegames.com, and the likes. For Cinders, we've got some pretty good coverage, and all thanks to direct emails, word of mouth, and journalists finding about the game through other reviews and their social networks. Actually, the most prominent mentions (from Kotaku and TheMarySue.com) came without us doing a thing.

On the other hand, when I was doing press releases at the last company I worked for (for three years), we haven't really noticed much impact on our traffic or coverage. I also got many angry emails in the vein of: "Remove me from your spam list!!!", which made me question the worth of all those contacts that PR distribution services like to brag about.

Of course, this is all from my personal experience, so your mileage may vary. It may still be worth at least a few tries.
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Tom Grochowiak
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