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.
The market-driven principles of the domain trade mean that a domain is only worth as much as the buyer is willing to pay. It is for this reason that criteria such as market potential and usability play such central roles in determining prices. Values can change at the drop of a hat. The price of a domain that was once of little interest to anyone in years past can skyrocket once, for example, a newly founded company takes interest in that same name.
The IP popularity and domain popularity each play a part in the overall quality evaluation. If you come across an expired domain with a high link popularity (i.e. a large number of backlinks), but then poor values when it comes to IP and domain popularity, you can assume that these links were obtained in an artificial way. Domains like these will have already caught the search engines’ attention. Perhaps this is the reason why the domain was abandoned. Users that want to start a serious online project should steer clear of these domains.
Internet users, who try to find expired domains and re-register them, will soon discover that this plan cannot be manually accomplished. Professional domain traders are familiar with the registry deletion process and rely on sophisticated algorithms that indicate when a domain is about to become available. Deletion lists are the result of this research. You can find many datasets online with domains that have already become available or will soon be. You often have to pay to be able to see this information.
Expired domains are especially attractive due to key SEO factors that are primarily associated with an existing backlink profile. If you are considering buying an expired domain, you can determine the quality of it by looking at the inbound links. When it comes to assessing the value of an expired domain relevant keywords contained in the second-level domain, a possible reference to products, brands, or services are all useful.
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).
So how do you develop that instinct? NameBio maintains a database of over 500,000 historical domain sales (as of writing this post). They have interesting filtering features by which you can narrow down domains by price range, date sold, keywords and more. Simply sifting through the listings on NameBio long enough will quickly develop your domain appraisal “instinct”.