Technology companies are the worst offenders, according to the study by Rainier PR, and the result is that they are not getting good media coverage.
For its report, Rainier talked to journalists from IT and business publications and national newspapers. Many complained there was a significant time lapse between news occurring and press releases subsequently appearing on sites.
Other major problem areas were lack of print-quality downloadable photos, inadequate or out-of-date contact details, incomplete or unsearchable press archives and the need for journalists to register before being able to access even the most basic information.
"Too many online press rooms seem to fob the press off with basic facts and old press releases," said Chris Measures, associate director of Rainier PR. "Online press rooms are extremely effective and vital communication tools for certain news management scenarios. It is no wonder this results in a poor perception of those companies by the press."
Daryl Willcox, chief executive of DW Publishing, added: "Journalists have become almost chemically dependent on the internet, so any company who takes PR even in the slightest bit seriously must start with a good press area on its web site."
The top 10 recommendations in the Rainier report are:
1. Clearly signpost the press room from the home page.
2. Make it straightforward and easy to navigate.
3. Keep publishing new material to ensure the site is always up to date.
4. Co-ordinate news distribution so that releases are posted as soon as they are issued.
5. Include a comprehensive photo gallery with high-resolution images.
6. Provide contact details for PR contacts around the world - the web is a 24-hour, global medium and should be treated as such.
7. Do not make journalists register for rudimentary information.
8. Respond directly to any queries sent through online forms.
9. Provide a searchable archive of press releases.
10. Include educational materials such as white papers and technical
backgrounders for journalists new to an area or technology.