The free ride is over, that is free press release distribution via PRWeb. This according to email sent out last night to PRWeb account holders. PRWeb has always offered free press release distribution with paid options as well. The paid options ensured more distribution channels. With the removal of the free option, they have three new paid options.

SEO - $80
This is the distribution level that has set the standard for search engine optimized press release distribution for the last five years. In order to provide a difference for our $80 users, we’re making some clear changes we believe will provide beneficial differences between SEO and the next level.

* To reduce noise, we’re creating a dedicated page for our $80 product. Less competition on the page means more visibility.

* We’re also streamlining the submission process for this level, reducing the time it takes to upload your press release on PRWeb.

SEO with Social Media - $120
This package incorporates all of the SEO features from the “SEO” distribution, plus all of PRWeb’s social media features including our patent pending TrackBacks/PingBacks and PR Tag Clouds. Other features available at this level include Technorati tagging, “Quotables,” and social bookmarking. (If you haven’t taken advantage of these new features, I encourage you to turn them on. Your press releases’ performance improvement can be significant). Also look for your release in Pheedo’s RSS and Blog network. First-page positioning on PRWeb is guaranteed the day of your release.

Advanced Online Visibility - $200
This distribution option gives you access to all of the enhanced SEO and social media functionality, coupled with new tools including our exclusive eBook creation utility and our newly enhanced statistics. We have spent the last year re-thinking and re-vamping the way we measure online visibility. Our Advanced Online Visibility program gives you incisive leadership in your media campaigns, the broadest toolset and the very best positioning on

I actually think this is a great idea. I have never used the free option as I desired deep distribution. getting rid of the free option will rid PRWeb of all the spammy releases as well as all the ridiculous ones we have seen over the years. We should now see a higher level of quality in the press releases that are being distributed.

Hat tip to Lee Odden.

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Search Engine Guide > David Wallace > "No More Free Press Releases," says PRWeb

David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.