Is Outskirts Press really Top Ranked?

outskirts press logo

outskirts press logo

So, many of you already know about the laughably silly press release running around from Outskirts Press, in which they claim that:

Outskirts Press, the leading self-publishing and book marketing services provider, announced today that it has been voted #1 in Self-Publishing Services by TopConsumerReviews.com, the leading provider of independent reviews and rankings of hundreds of consumer products and services.

Now, once you've stopped giggling, let me explain what's going on here. (No, it's not that they're actually the top ranking self-publishing argle bargle whatsit.)

This is not an article for you

I know it looks like it, but it's probably not. It's a press release, not an article, written by Outskirts, and syndicated by PRWeb, a marketing company. You can pay PRWeb about $80 per release if I recall right.

Take a quick look around Google for this article and you'll see the various sites where PRWeb's network has placed the article. (I've actually dealt with them personally and you can't deny they're good at what they do.) Now take a look at this:

outskirts press release

outskirts press release

That links to Outskirt's site, of course. This is a pretty solid SEO strategy - write up a nice PR thing, give it to PRWeb, watch the links roll in. So, the balance of probability is that Outskirts isn't looking to impress actual authors who might be interested in its services. It's actually going after the search engine rankings to raise its profile among the entirely clueless. And it's a successful strategy - do a Google search for self-publishing, and Outskirts is on the front page.

Affiliate Income from Outskirts Press

So why is TopConsumerReviews in on this? Pretty simple - TCR only seems to review products on which it can earn affiliate income. So my money is on there being a tidy little business arrangement between Outskirts and TCR where they get a cut of sales that happen as a result of traffic from them. I'm pretty sure about this because of the various tracking cookies with referral information being stored when a user clicks from TCR through to Outskirts.

The 'Top Ranking blah blah blah' is pretty much just a cheap excuse to write the press release. Don't kid yourself on that count, because it's likely there was no one else in the running and that top ranking was part of the marketing arrangement. TCR certainly isn't holding itself to much of a standard when it comes to reviews - if you check out their main page, you'll see that the different categories are all high value search terms.

So, in summary and all amusement or outrage aside, this whole thing is part of a consistent and well organized marketing/selling strategy on the part of Outskirts Press, and their target audience is the usual ignorant publishing newbies who have never heard of Amazon KDP or Smashwords. If you've ever wondered how operations like Outskirts and AuthorHouse get their business, in seeming defiance of all reason and common sense, here it is.

Long story short, don't believe everything you find on Google.

Check out The Passive Voice blog for more info.