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World leader in BS

It’s a rare press release which doesn’t tell us the company paying for the publicity is a leader in something or other. 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 claims to be the leader, while others are only a leader. And most of the claims are highly specific.

They are also unverifiable.

None of them tell you who decided they are a leader, or what criteria they used to reach the conclusion.

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’s certainly doesn’t help the media. Every journalist worth their salt cuts it.

You can tell a poor quality media outlet because they'll leave it in. Nobody bothers to take seriously any publications not editing these claims out of a story.

It doesn’t help the 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?