Press releases usually trumpet a company as a leader in something. Often they are “global leaders”.

A search for the word “leading” among the press releases in my in-box threw up thousands. Some recent ones:

SYDNEY, Aust., December 10, 2010 —  Acronis, a leading provider of easy-to-use backup, recovery and security solutions for physical, virtual and cloud environments.

Auckland, December 9, 2010: PC Tools, a global leader in innovative performance and protection solutions

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies

Auckland – December 7, 2010 – Kaseya, the leading global provider of automated IT systems management software

SYDNEY, Aust., 1 December, 2010 – Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading provider of cloud optimisation services

You’ll notice some claim to be the leader, while others are only a leader. Most claims are highly specific.

They are also unverifiable. None of them tell you who decided they are a leader or what criteria they used.

That’s because the claims are pointless self-aggrandisement. Public relations consultants feel they have little choice but to make these claims – no doubt they feel the client expects or demands it.

But leaving this nonsense in a release doesn’t help anyone.

It doesn’t help the media. Every journalist worth their salt cuts it. Nobody bothers to take seriously any publications not editing these claims.

It doesn’t help the boastful companies. They might argue it would help them show up in Google as a world leader in their area – but does anyone search for “global leader in innovative performance and protection solutions”.

So why do they do it?