A general rule of thumb around here when it comes to press releases (not that we pay attention to many press releases), is that any press release that calls the company in question a "leading" company in some market automatically gets trashed. We will not read beyond "leading" or "leader" because the press release is obviously a bunch of bogus, useless and self-promotional statements. This pretty much takes about 99% of the press releases we receive right out of the inbox (if you hadn't figured this out yet, this means don't send us press releases -- though, since it appears most of the PR people who bombard us on a daily basis clearly don't read the site, it's unlikely this will have much of an impact). Of course, these types of claims aren't limited to just press releases. They show up in advertising all the time as well -- particularly in the mobile operator space. Last week, there was some discussion over at Engadget over how Alltel could possibly get away with claiming it had the largest network, when unlike the "big four" competitors, Alltel isn't a nationwide operator. Meanwhile, the NY Times looks into the fact that Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Cingular all put various spins on the idea that they each offer the "best" network. For Verizon Wireless, it's the "most reliable," Sprint says "most powerful" and Cingular claims "fewest dropped calls." All, of course, claim independent studies back up their claims... but all are pretty clearly picking and choosing numbers to support the advertising campaign -- and the use of such generic claims don't inspire much confidence. Of course, in the end the real question should be whether or not anyone actually cares? It seems most people know better than to even remotely care about claims like that -- and are more concerned with (a) how much service costs (b) what kind of phones can be used on the service and (c) does it work in the few places they're likely to be.
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