Mining Drop Lists for Expired Domains
4 votes, 4.75 avg. tacos (89% full)

Update: Although PBNs still work, they now have a history of being targeted by Google and therefore may not be the safest option. This is why we now focus on creating online businesses that are independent of SEO traffic.

Note that this is part of the expired domain series which has been compiled in order of importance here.

This was originally part of a private course for interns, but I’ve opened it up to anyone and everyone now. It was written by Danny, a V1 intern who headed the course for some V2 interns.  Note that mining for the standard .com/.net/org is no longer very relevant as the technique has become quite popular and domains are being dropcatched, but people may get some other value from this post.


<Disclaimer> A lot of people are having difficulty finding domains. There is a real learning curve, so please be prepared for this. As an option for those that are just starting out, I recommend you prove the model by first purchasing a few domains, or try out our latest service, RankHero.

RankHero allows you to test the viability of this method without having to invest the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars it takes to find, build, host and maintain your own Private Content Network. </disclaimer>



If you’ve been applying the strategies in previous posts, then you know that searching for quality expired domains is very addicting. Once you’ve had a little success with Xenu’s Link Sleuth and Scrapebox, you’re better off spending time developing and monetizing a list of good domains than searching for rarities like PR5s and 6s. The best way I’ve found to curb that addiction is by using domain drop lists.

Drop lists contain lists of domains that are in the process of dropping, but haven’t necessarily expired yet. This is an important distinction to make.

Choosing a Drop List

There are thousands of sites that aggregate data from different registrars and auction houses to create their own lists, and some of the more popular ones offer monthly subscriptions to get access to different domain metrics. I would avoid these sites, especially if you’re a beginner. Big players like Pool and FreshDrop are monitored by domainers with years of experience, so their lists get picked rather quickly.

These are some of my favorite lists for finding nice PR3 and PR4 expired domains:

  • Udate 11/7/13: has the same lists as OdditySoftware, but conveniently in text format.
  • Second Update: ClickMojo also has a great list.
  • – My #1 go-to list. You can filter the list by ccTLD, dictionary terms, has-Alexa ranking, and a number of other useful metrics. This list also scores highest for PR4s-per-time invested.
  • – Another great resource. Similar to Oddity, the lists on ExpiredDomains contain domains that are pending delete on the present day. You can also filter the domains by age, which is useful if you’re hunting for premium aged domains from the late ’90s or early ’00s.
  • – The domain lists on DropGrabs are shorter and less organized than the other sites, so you won’t be saving as much time by mining their lists. But you can choose to look at domains from a variety of sources, and I’ve found quite a few amazing domains from DropGrabs.
  • Honorable mention goes to GoldNames.

There are many sources to choose from, and I suggest finding one or two that serve as nice “filler” sources of domains to check when you’re pressed for time.

Cleaning Your List

Today’s drop list on Oddity shows ~100000 domains. Checking each of these would be a nightmare, even if you have access to the tools developed by Hayden and other readers. A simple way to pare down this list to something manageable is by using Scrapebox’s bulk filter.

At this point in your search, you’ve no doubt noticed that there are certain words, characters, and TLDs that are associated with less-than-reputable websites or spammy backlink profiles. Whenever you see one, add it to a list in a .txt file. Scrapebox has a nice built in feature for filtering out any URL that contains entries from a text file, as seen here:

Import your list of banned phrases to Scrapebox

Take it one step further by checking the domain availability on Their bulk tool can check the availability of 7 – 8000 domains of the same TLD without any issues. Together these steps can get that list of 100000 down to 20000 or fewer in less than an hour, which is something you can work with.

edit: A list of spammy terms can be found here. Also, you can select a list of terms using the Find function in OpenOffice by following these instructions.

Mining Drop Lists for Expired Domains
4 votes, 4.75 avg. tacos (89% full)
  1. After doing some research I noticed that after domains enter the pendingDelete stage it takes around 5/6 days before they become available. Do you archive the daily drop lists so you can use them a week later or have you found some of them to be available immediately?


    • >I noticed that after domains enter the pendingDelete stage it takes around 5/6 days before they become available.

      I noticed the same thing, and it depends on the list. One list’s “Domains Dropping Today” might be there way of saying the domains are entering the Pending Delete phase, whereas another list’s “Domains Dropping Today” are domains getting deleted today, ie fully expired and available to register.

      >Do you archive the daily drop lists so you can use them a week later or have you found some of them to be available immediately?

      I don’t archive the lists. The Today list on has domains available immediately. If you’re working at night then it’s also worth downloading the Tomorrow list and cleaning them both together, because it will be “Tomorrow” by the time you submit the domains to the DA Checker.

    • After running through (literally) a few million or so domains from drop lists, I have found that they are hardly ever worth the effort. They are usually pretty spammy. You might find one good clean domain for every 100k domains you run through.

      But, if you are just starting out, with zero domains, and you can’t afford Scrapebox, then drop lists may be an okay place to start. But, using SB and Xenu is way faster and produces much better fruit.

  2. Is it possible to create a spam list (e.g. a google document) which everyone can add the spam sites she/he finds?

    The list can be used to feed either scapebox (as Danny pointed out) or link profile in the form of excel sheet (with some “string match” macro) to help identify a “spam” domain with less human efforts.

      • Do you find scraping the dropped lists as productive as the other methods? I would imagine that many people are doing the same thing and the good domains gets gobbled up pretty quickly.

        I’ve been testing out a new method based up broken link building.

        • It depends on what you personally are most lacking. When I started with 0 domains, I spent a lot of time and generating massive lists with Scrapebox + Xenu. Now that I have thousands of domains but no time, I default to drop lists.

          >I would imagine that many people are doing the same thing and the good domains gets gobbled up pretty quickly.

          It depends. They’re spammier than the lists I get from SB + Xenu for sure, but it all depends on the list. The sites I link to in the article have been good to me, particularly Oddity.

  3. Do you have a list of those spam words/characters? I’ve started to build one, got to about 100 entries so far and got so far down to 50k domains from 90k.

  4. Hey Danny

    This quote at the begging

    “Note that mining for the standard .com/.net/org is no longer very relevant as the technique has become quite popular and domains are being dropcatched, but people may get some other value from this post.”

    What does that mean exactly? Is it the mining of the drop lists that dont work as well anymore or is it the xenu/scrapebox or maybe both?

    • The paragraph was added by Hayden, but I don’t think that he intended to say either was more or less effective than it had been.

      In my experience, the competition for .com/.net/.org has gone up from droplists/dropcatchers as well as SEOs using Xenu/SB and other tools, but more so in the case of droplists. ie, the hit rate of quality domains you can find on droplists has dropped more than the hit rate of the Xenu/SB method.

      IMO, Xenu/SB was and is a great combination because it leverages your own creativity, so any footprint-keyword combinations you come up with will be unique.

  5. I don’t think I would go through the hassle. If you just got back into the Adsense world it would be a bad thing to get banned again.
    All of the work can turn out to be for nothing if they catch on. Too much at risk but it is a great idea. I imagine with the right domain names topic specific it would be ok though. Read More……

      • NohatSEO Lover says:

        Hi Danny & Hayden

        first of all I have to say I have fallen in love with your website. I wish I had found it earlier :( There is such quality content on this website for free that its almost unbelievable!

        A quick question, As Hayden added the para above ” Note that mining for the standard .com/.net/org is no longer very relevant as the technique has become quite popular and domains are being dropcatched, but people may get some other value from this post.”
        I myself am also finding it very difficult to find even one quality domain using and others. However I havent tried finding expired domains using scrapebox method by feeding it some websites (your other methods basically) Since you guys are the experts, may i know if the other methods are doing better than these droplists? Is it even worth spending time on these drops lists anymore?

        • Thanks for your comment.

          Scrapebox + Xenu is effective but time consuming. Great for building a small PBN but difficult to scale. Xenu is buggy and outdated; however, there are newer alternatives. Hayden’s tool uses Scrapy (, which is free. Paid scrapers: ScrapingHub ( and 80legs ( These would still require the Scrapebox and PR check steps to qualify your list of pages.

          Link any of these to the WhoIs API + Moz API and you can start checking domains at scale. Imo, the rate limiting step would still be creating a process for measuring the quality of your Scrapebox footprints.

  6. I rather stick with the SB Xenu method, after testing 100K of domains from droplist i found one PR2 with some good backlinks on them.

    I say this method is suterated

  7. Thanks for the info Danny,

    You guys here provide more value than anyone else when it comes to pbn’s and it is very appreciated. I was wondering if you could give me a little insight about a domain I have recently found using the methods here.

    I have found a site with a pa of 58 with what is definitely a natural link profile. 1 problem though, it was bought a few years back and re-purposed for an irrelevant niche according to They didn’t appear to build links to it at all I think they were just using the authority for traffic. Would this keep you from registering the domain?

    Thanks in advance.

    • In my not so humble experience by now, ‘once re-purposed domains’ often don’t get indexed in Google at all.

      Meaning you are risking setting them up and Google simply never picking them up.

      If it’s a cheap tld then you can risk buying it, setting it up in a basic way and see if it gets indexed.

      If it’s expensive, you’re definitely risking your cash.

      • @pmc

        My experience isn’t so humble either, and I agree with you. However, the umbrella of “once re-purposed domains” is large and covers all types of re-purposing.

        I don’t buy domains that were re-purposed, period. Whether or not Hayden/Han include those, I don’t know. They *do* include domains that resurfaced as parked. I do as well, but very rarely and only if the domain’s metrics make it worth the risk.

  8. IME, and Hayden/Han’s advice as well, is that a domain is ok to register if it has been parked for a year or two. Further, Han tells me that high PA and very high trust often “make up” for a not-so-perfect history. So in the case of your PA 58 domain, so long as there are zero spammy backlinks, I would say it’s definitely worth registering.

    • Parked is fine, I am talking about domains that were picked up in the past and re-purposed as a money site or a pbn site irrelevant to the niche. They often times don’t get indexed.

  9. By the way @Blaine: PA 58 with no spammy links and a generic tld is extremely rare. Even with cc tld’s (that aren’t restricted from registering) it’s not common.

    Have you checked Majestic’s anchor text tab? Because Moz *filter out* spammy links. You cannot check for spam with Moz.

    • Yes I did check out the anchor text in majestic. There were definitely no links built while the site had been re-purposed (checked majestic, ahrefs, and moz). I may be stupid for trying it, but for $11 and about 2 hours I’m going to see what happens.

      I will report back and see if there is any luck with indexing.

      Thanks for the input

      • Reporting back as promised.

        Yeah, definitely a complete waste of time. I’m out about $10, but lesson learned.

        If the domain has been re-purposed, no matter how tempting the metrics appear to be, don’t buy it.

        Google will not index it, or didn’t in my case anyway.

  10. Hi Hayden

    A question about Expired Domains if you don’t mind.

    I’ve noticed that the expired domains I buy, even though they have links (and I ping the lings with indexification), the websites maintain a PR of N/A (not zero) even after 4+ months from putting the website up on a hosting account and posting 5+ pieces of content.

    I realize that Google is not updating it’s toolbar PR at the moment, but all the money niche sites (not expired domains) that I’ve launched more than 2 months ago already have a PR zero, none of them remained at a PR “N/A”. Does the fact that the expired domains maintain an N/A PR mean that the websites are not passing any value at all, because Google does not even count the links pointing towards it?

  11. What do you guys think about “rebranding” the expired domain once it is found? I’ve heard Hayden and some other SEOs talk about doing this, but I’m not sure I fully understand the risks or the methods for mitigating the risks involved with taking a domain like “a site about candy” and changing it to a site having to do with something like car insurance.

    I know there is a footprint which google could track and eventually penalize, but my question is this:

    1. Given today’s environment, is this ok?
    2. Is there a way to do this with a reasonably low risk?

    • I think it’s fine as long as the domain expired awhile ago (and therefore the old websites linking to it are not liable to clean their outbound links). When relevancy is a bigger part of the algo it will be not as useful though.

  12. Usually I use a web scraper called Octoparse to help me gather keywords from websites and then use Google Adwords.

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