PBN HQ Reivew
How Did I Get To This Review
When I first started out in the SEO world, expired domains were all I could think about. Obsessing over the highest metrics and the best strategies to get them. As time has passed, I have become less concerned about finding that ‘holy grail’ expired domain and more concerned about actually getting PBNs built, ranking sites and making money. Don’t get me wrong, metrics DEFINITELY matter and there is a minimum you want to keep but at the end of the day a site with 1 or 2 SUPER high quality links isn’t going to rank as well as a site with 10-20 DESCENT quality links. That is opinion, that is fact. So I set out to find the easiest and quickest way to find my expired domains. I have dealt with brokers, Facebook groups, scraping myself and everything you could imagine. Scraping myself was great and I had a lot of success with it. The biggest problem I had was manually checking every domain for backlink profiles and spam. I know I know everyone says get a VA but that is sometimes easier said than done. When you hire a VA you have to have stuff for them to do and you also have to be able to train them. This is something that a lot of folks starting out in ‘SEO’ don’t have the time, money or knowledge to do. I then came across a software called Domain Ronin. It is an expired web scrapper created by the guys who run PBN HQ. This thing was AWESOME and I loved using it…but that is a review for another time. So back to buying domains. I was approached by the guys at PBN HQ to do a review of their marketplace. Since the idea of the website is ‘studying’ SEO I thought this would be a perfect thing to do. So here it is!
What Is The PBN HQ Marketplace
So as I said above, the guys at PBN HQ are the creators of Domain Ronin. It makes sense that since they created a scraper they would have a pretty big portfolio of expired domains. This is where their marketplace comes in. They use their own scraping software to do all the expired domain name scrapping for you. Using their scrapping software, they metric and spam check all the domains that they find. Then then manually review each site to make sure that they did not miss any spammy backlinks. While doing this they also pull the topical categories from Majestic and also what the last site in Archive.org was before it expired. This gives you a great idea if the site is going to fix your niche. The offer quite a few niches that they categorize their domains into:
As you can see they have pretty much every niche covered! PBN HQ has an extremely easy to use interface so that you can navigate, search, sort and filter through all of their domains (which was a little over 800 domains at the time of this review). Every day they add more and will email you a list of the new domains they have found. As these are domains that anyone can freely register, they ‘mask out’ the domain name with the number of characters in the domain and then give you the ending TLD (.com, .net, .org, etc). Each domain costs between $10 and $20 with a nice discount when purchasing 5 or more and even nicer after purchasing 10 or more.
Finding Expired Domains Through The Marketplace
Registering Your Account
First you will need to register an account before you can access the marketplace. I first questioned why they made you do this but realized they want your email address so that they can keep you updated on the domains that they add daily. They add quite a few domains daily and I have found their once a day email (this can be turned off if you choose) to be very helpful and non intrusive in my day!
Navigating The Marketplace
Once you are in the market place it is super easy to navigate. Every column is filterable and sortable. Lets go over the columns right now.
The ID column is just PBN HQs unique id for the domain.
This is the URL of the domain you will be buying. This URL is masked out with ‘xxxx’ for all the characters. The reason they do this is because the URL you are buying they do not own. It is free to register to anyone that knows that URL. Since this is the case they mask the URL or you wouldn’t have to buy it from them…you could just go register it. This url is, however, masked with the appropriate number of characters so you can see how long the domain name is. In addition it does not mask out hyphens so that you can see how many hyphens are in the domain name.
This should be pretty self explanatory but the marketplace pulls all the Majestic and Moz stats without you having to have an account. LRD is the number of referring domain the strong version of the domain name has. If you want to filter on any of these columns you will use the ‘greater than’ sign (>) and a number. So if you only want to see domains that are >15 TF or >20 PA then that is what you will use to filter.
The languages field shows you the language that site was written in original site. If you want to filter this column for certain languages then you will type the language in the column. Example ‘en’ is for only english language sites.
The topics column shows you what the Majestic topical category is for the existing referring domains to that URL. You can enter any search term into this filter and PBN HQ will show only the domains with that term in the topical categories for the domain.
This is the category, from above, that PBN HQ uses to group the ‘type’ of domain the original site was. This helps you to know what niche the site was originally in. Take a look at the list of categories above. Enter any of these in the filter field and you will only see domains in that category.
This is when the domain name was originally registered.
Since these domains are free to register for anyone that has the domain name, PBN HQ automatically checks to make sure that the domain is still available so you are purchasing a domain name that is no longer available to register. If this does happen to be the case, PBN HQ will replace the domain at no extra charge.
How much it will cost you to buy the URL from the marketplace. Please note that you still have to register the domain with your preferred registrar to use the domain name. You are just buying the ‘name’ to register from PBN HQ.
Add To Cart
Use this button to add the domain to your cart for purchase. When adding 5 or more domains to your cart you will receive a 10% discount, 10 or more and receive a 20% discount.
Purchasing Your Domains
Once you have added the domains you want to purchase to your cart, you will need to load your PBN HQ account with money. You can do this before hand or you can do it at checkout. They allow you to load your account very easily through Paypal. If you have a Paypal account setup you can have your account loaded in a matter of minutes. After your account is loaded with the appropriate funds, then finishing your purchase is a breeze.
Managing Your Purchased Domains
While evaluating the marketplace, after purchasing my domains I was presented with a very bland interface with very little informative data. Basically I just had the domain names and an integration button to link my domains to Easy Blog Networks. I really wasn’t please with this at all, so I emailed the guys over at PBN HQ with some suggestions and they had their developer implement my suggestions in less than 24 hours. Now when you view the ‘Domains’ section of your account you are presented with the same interface as the main navigation interface. You can see your topical categories, TF/CF/DA/PA metrics, the date you purchased the domain from PBN HQ and much more relevant information. They also add the ‘strong version’ of your domain to this section so that you know if you need to be using the ‘www’ version or the ‘root’ version.
Easy Blog Networks Integration
So after purchasing your domains, PBN HQ has a built in integration with Easy Blog Networks. This is a pretty slick integration and you can 1-click to send your domain you purchased at PBN HQ over to EBN and it will setup your hosting, WordPress and manage the IP classes so as to not create a footprint. This is really nice feature that is not required to use but makes life a lot easier.
Tools PBN HQ Provides
Included for free, PBN HQ allows you to create Wayback snapshot downloads. This is useful if you want to just take a ‘snapshot’ of the original website and upload. This cuts down on development time tremendously but as Matt Diggity has noted in his case study Wayback Installations vs WordPress Rebuilds, this is not always the best method.
PBN HQ has also given you a domain availability bulk checker to check if a list of domains are available to register or not. Maybe someone posted in the forums or FB groups a list of domains and you don’t want to check if they are available manually. This is a good way to do it.
Snapshot Generator will help speed up your spam checking by creating historic snapshots (two per year) of the domains you submit. This allows you to quickly eyeball a domains history.
So I think deciding whether to use the marketplace are not really comes down to one thing. Do you have time to scrape your own domains? Scraping your own domains is a very time consuming process. So if you are wanting domains that are high quality, spam checked and guaranteed to index (or they will be replaced) then the marketplace is for you. If you think you want to try your hand at scraping domains then I would STRONGLY suggest Domain Ronin as the best scraper I have ever used. I will have a review on Domain Ronin written shortly.