I've fixed some speed related problems and the new search cluster is now live. The combination of both speeds up every search noticeably. Also some unfinished expired lists are no longer in the domain name search. Some users noticed that you could already find TLDs in the domain name search that were not released yet. This is not possible anymore, however if you are one of those users, contact me. Let me know what TLD you are interested in and I will prioritize it.
Those trading domains for commercial purposes are generally on the prowl for lucrative domain endings. There are essentially two different ways traders go about making money off of domain names. One method entails purchasing already established names for a low price and selling them for a profit later once their value has increased. Another strategy involves buying and registering a domain that is thought to possess a high sales potential. Many domain traders use backorder services. These services automatically register a domain when one becomes available or is deleted (what are known as expired domains).
If you buy a dropped domain from Snap or Namejet, the backlinks seem to be worthless for SEO.  They are valuable for traffic if it's targeted to your site.  Go ahead and 301 redirect into your site because it's the traffic from the back links that is worth something.  I use the Google URL builder to redirect these names so you can see the domain the traffic is coming from.

For the following TLDs you can now find a expired/deleted domain list. .gi, .gl, .gy, .hn, .ht, .ky, .mu, .om, .pf, .qa, .rw, .sb, .sm, .sn, .st, .sx, .tc, .tl, .ug, .uy They also show up in the Deleted Domains (last 7 days) list and in the Domain Name Search, however they are not in the pending delete list! I do not have a working droplist for them yet, so that is why they are not released in the pending delete list yet.
Each of the third parties we integrate with charge for getting metrics for a domain. DomCop pays for their API to get this data for you and therefore you do not need to purchase additional accounts to get these metrics. One DomCop account will do it all. As new players enter the market, we integrate with them so that you always have the best and most comprehensive set of metrics to help you decide which domain to buy.

Here's an old post on search engine roundtable that claims google's policy is to discount previous backlink juice when a domain changes ownership.  I'm not convinced whether this is actually true or something Google says to discourage excessive domain buying / 301 redirecting for SEO benefit.  The comments above seem to give varying opinions on this matter. Would be great to get to the bottom of that one!

Here's a test I have in process.  I bought an old $5 closeout domain from Godaddy TDname expired auction.  I put a quick minisite up and linked to it with a crazy anchor text phrase.  The domain is ranking for that crazy term now.  It's gone through one pagerank update and I'm waiting for a second to come.  Then I'll redirect the domain to another minisite.  I suspect the second site won't rank for the anhor text, but we'll see.  
The first is the link profile I and actually took this example carbondsystems.com because it looked like a pretty good choice. It’s from 2003. It has some links, some age and it’s in DMAS and looked at the link profile in DMAS. So, you just copy and paste the domain,  the home page it to here, click on the search links button and this will show you all the links to that site.

You can still buy two word or three word domain names incorporating your target keywords. Moreover, there are millions of domain names out there which haven’t been used at all and are bound to expire soon. All such domains keep coming back to the domain marketplace. What more, there are useful tools available to research and filter through such expired domains.
Know your rights under the Anti-cyber squatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). This is the main federal law that deals with domain name trademark disputes. These distinctions are still a legal gray area, and being able to make these claims is no guarantee you will win a case. You should consult with a copyright lawyer to help determine the validity of your defense. If you are accused of cybersquatting, you may be able to keep your domain if you can make any of the following defenses in court:
If you buy a domain from a 3rd party, the backlinks are valuable.  I always wait a few months before redirecting, so just set up a quick minisite until two page rank updates have passed and then go ahead and 301 redirect.  However, it seems that you'll get the link juice from the back links, the anchor text is ignored by Google.   Buying a domain at Godaddy TDName expired auctions, seem to not count as a dropped domain if you immediately set up a mini-site.

Dictionary Word/Pronounceable/Memorable/Brandable: A dictionary word domain name is very valuable. Of course, the more popular and widely used the word is, the better. For example, “marketing.com”, “cars.com” and “hotels.com” are 7-8 figure domain names. Even if a domain name isn’t a dictionary word, being pronounceable and/or memorable and/or brandable are all big pluses that add to its value.