Update (27th March): literally hours after I published this post, BuildMyRank announced that the “overwhelming majority” of its blog network has been de-indexed by Google. And yesterday, RankJumpers closed its doors to new customers. I believe that this is the end of private blog networks as we know it.
BuildMyRank seems to be the daddy of private blog networks. So much so that it has temporarily closed its doors in order to “remain relevant over the long run”. By this I assume they mean that the supply of blogs they have does not match the current demand.
I know that there are some amongst you who are looking for a good alternative – the next best thing, if you will. However, I have discovered that you shouldn’t just be looking for the next best thing – I have found a better service.
The Bias of Online Product Reviews
I have always read the vast amount of praise lavished upon BuildMyRank with some skepticism. Call me cynical, but you should take any review of a product with an excellent affiliate program with a pinch of salt. However, assigning bias to a particular product because I might be able to profit from doing so is not in my nature – regular readers of my blog know that.
Anyway, in an effort to help you find the best private blog network, I took it upon myself to do some lengthy and extensive testing. This post is something I actually first mentioned doing back at the end of last year, and I finally have everything I need. My findings, based upon hard data, demonstrate BuildMyRank’s relative impotence alongside a comparably-priced product.
Details of My Study
Any study such as this is only as good as the data upon which the findings are based, so I would like to take a moment to explain what I have actually done.
I have recently worked with three private blog networks – BuildMyRank, Linkvana, and RankJumpers. For each service, I analyzed 20 posts that were all created around the end of 2011, and ascertained the following:
- Is the post indexed in Google?
- Is it a live page?
- Does the post link back to my blog as intended?
- Is the post hosted on the same domain as another post?
- What is the domain’s PR?
- What is the post’s PR?
A larger sample pool would have of course been better, but with the results being as comprehensive as they are, I do not really see that as an issue.
To check whether or not a post was indexed in Google, I selected a proportion of the content (enclosed within speech marks), and entered it as a search query in Google. I repeated this process two more times if my search did not initially return any results.
I used this tool to check the page and domain PRs of each post.
All in all, I’m happy with the way in which I conducted my research – I think it returned reliable data.
The Shocking Results
I’m sure you are eager to discover what I found, so without further ado, here are the results:
The numbers really do speak for themselves. Whilst RankJumpers and BuildMyRank share the same percentage of indexed, live and unique links, the average page and domain PR of RankJumpers’ posts are far superior to that of BuildMyRank’s.
Linkvana is unfortunately barely even worth talking about. There were an enormous proportion of duplicate domains within the posts, the page PRs were zero across the board, and the domain PRs were very low.
In fairness, BuildMyRank seemed to have the most diverse range of blog designs – most of the RankJumpers blogs were based on the standard WordPress Twenty Eleven theme. Additionally, BuildMyRank added photos and occasionally videos to the posts. Having said that, it is debatable as to whether these factors are actually of any benefit.
One thing that is interesting to note is that all three services are misleading their customers about domain PR. They all claim to own minimum PR1 domains, but all three have PR0 domains in their networks.
Linkvana charges a flat fee of $147 for submission to an unlimited number of sites. You would have to own a considerable number of websites to make their service cost-effective, even if it were the best.
Their pricing model is completely different to that of BuildMyRank and RankJumpers, who follow a structure based upon the number of domains you want to link to. Those two services are comparably priced (with BuildMyRank starting at $59 per month and RankJumpers starting at $57.95), but BuildMyRank is slightly less expensive as you move up through the pricing brackets.
What They Had To Say
When I was carrying out this research, I decided to contact both BuildMyRank and Linkvana to see what they had to say about my findings.
I spoke with John, who I believe is the owner of BuildMyRank (correct me if I am wrong).
He claims that the service offers a historical initial indexing rate of over 90%, although he did admit that “slippage” could occur, in the region of 5-10%. Based upon my findings, he is wrong on either one of those counts (or both). My analysis demonstrated an indexing rate of just 70%. My guess is that initial indexing is perhaps in the region of 90%, but that slippage is far greater than 5-10%.
He claimed that the BuildMyRank network has an average PR of 2.5, and concluded that my findings were simply a result of “luck of the draw”. There are two problems with his argument:
- My findings most definitely do not indicate an average PR of 2.5. If the average PR were a little lower than the claimed amount, you could write it off as a statistical anomaly, but the actual PR is less than half of the claimed PR.
- He is likely basing his averages upon all posts, whether they are indexed or not – but an unindexed post is in reality a PR0, regardless of how high the actual PR is.
I decided to test his argument further by checking the average PR of the last 100 posts I submitted via BuildMyRank. The results? An average PR of 1.75 – and that is based upon the assumption that every single post was indexed (and we know they weren’t).
Either way, his claim appears to be false.
I spoke with Dave at Linkvana, and he had two main points to make.
The first was that my account is on the lowest “node”, which translated into English apparently means that I do not post to their highest PR network. To be perfectly honest, I consider that largely irrelevant, given the high number of duplicate domains and unindexed posts. And the question then is, how much more do you have to pay to get on a higher node, and why would you even bother when initial results are so poor?
Dave was also eager to point out that they are rolling out a “brand new system for indexing”. He claimed that they are seeing “close to 100%” in indexing rates – a bold claim indeed. But again, even if indexing rates do increase, the low PR coupled with duplicate domains cripples the gains made.
Linkvana appears to have the trifecta of what you don’t want to see in a private blog network – low PR, low indexing rate, high duplicate domains.
In my opinion, the evidence is comprehensive – RankJumpers is the clear winner. If you are looking to build links via a private blog network, I would recommend RankJumpers as the service to use. You can explore their site and sign up to a free seven day trial by clicking here.
Creative Commons image courtesy of vitroid