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 easiest way to see that is to go to HREFs and look at the anchor text. It reveals right away whether or not the site has been spammed. You also want to see if it’s been SEO’d too much. Right? In this case, it’s not because it has a brand name here and some natural keywords, but if the number one anchor text was like, cell phone management system and then the next one was like cheap cell phone management system, you’d know that the anchor text was manipulated and probably overly SEO’d. So, what you want as a site that has a natural link profile.
Just because something is legal does not make it ethical. While things that are legal can and often are ethical, there are practices like domain name flipping that are not ethical. Buying a domain name without intending to use it to make profit creates an unnecessary industry which costs people money and reduces general productivity and economic growth. This is the same with all practices that cost people money but do not contribute any value, most notably corruption. If we eliminated such practices our economic growth increases and general wealth is increased because our money is paying people for things that add to our lives and our communities. This does not. Evessariky reglect badly in people who choose to engage in such practices, but is a result of regulatory failure.
What is a domain? Despite this word being mentioned so frequently, it’s often unclear what the functions and structures of domains are. Knowing the hierarchical structure of the Domain Name System (DNS) is fundamental for anyone working in IT or in any online industry. We explain the difference between top-level, second-level, and third-level domains, and how you can benefit from subdomains that...
Another point of concern is that many people feel that squatting or registering domains is unethical. This is because many web developers have a hard time finding relevant domain names for their projects since most of them have already been registered. Many corporate giants also frown upon the domain flipping industry because many domain names relevant to them are already registered.

Domain investors build a portfolio of valuable domain names, and attempt to sell them at a profit. Both Sedo and Afternic offer domain marketplaces (also known as Domain Listing Services, or DLS) for investors to advertise their domains to potential buyers. Once the seller and buyer agree, the aftermarket platforms then facilitate the purchase and transfer of the domain(s). As an Enom customer, you’re entitled to list your domains for sale on Sedo, Afternic, or both at the same time. Get started


So what are some strategies to finding great domains to flip?  Well, the first is to find quality domains.  There are some sights that publish a daily list of good upcoming Namejet auctions like here: http://www.tld.org .  This is an easy way without having to search to find some great upcoming auctions to bid on.  If you have the time you can search Namejet yourself.  The key is to making money by flipping domains is to find domains that other people will want.  If the 30 day window period just started on a domain (for this example let’s say it was Anticareer.com) you could use Google to search for ‘anticareer’ and ‘anti career’ and see if you can find people who own sites that may be interested in this domain.  Email them and ask them if they’d have an interest in purchasing the domain Anticareer.com.  If you get some bites you can then go and bid on the domain and if you win it you can flip it right away.  Once you get some experience it will be easy for you to spot the domain names which you can quickly and easily flip and you’ll also develop a good feel for what price you should pay to make yourself the amount of profit you want to make.
While numbers like the ones seen above are impressive, most domains sell for significantly less extravagant prices and are generally in the two or three-digit range. Not long ago, those who were able to secure general terms (like icecream.com or pizza.com) not protected by trademark rights often found themselves sitting on virtual gold mines. The glory days of this boom have long since passed, and those looking for a profit in today’s market need a keen sense for coming trends.

This is in response to a question a fellow Moz community member once asked in Q&A, and we thought that it deserved its own article. Buying up expired domains, or purchasing keyword-driven domains is becoming more popular amongst the internet "get rich quick" crowd. The big question is: Can you make a profit by buying and selling domain names? If you get the right one, sure. If you plan on repeating the process over and over, probably not.
What DomCop does for you, is show you a list of all these domains along with important metrics for every domain. These metrics, along with our powerful filtering and sorting capabilities, will help reduce the size of the daily list from 200,000+ to just a handful of the very best domains. What would take you hours, will now literally take you seconds to do.
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!

In today's SEO (2015) the answer would be a big no! With changes to the google algorithm and the constant updates panda, penguin, what's next...., much of the "keyword url" power is now gone. While there was a day when it made sense to buy a good named .com and expect instant indexing, not so anymore unless the site is very strong coming in ,which in that case you'll drop a minimum $50k. If you are willing to drop that kind of money and the site has a high domain authority, it might make sense as long as it matches whatever product or service that you're trying to sell. Just my opinion...

I OWNED DOMPERIGNON.ORG, incredible, but true.  Lost it, back in the days when internet in India was not a readily accessible utility. And I was a casual domainer.  You had to go to a cybercafe. Did that late in the day, towards the expiry of the domain. No chance of renewal. The domain is now with the owners of Dom Perignon and is redirected to domperignon.com! 
A rule of thumb that I follow is when I purchase a domain name I have to believe that I can flip it for a 100% profit.  So if I spend $500 on a domain I need to feel like I can sell it for no less than $1,000.  This way, even if I’m wrong in my estimation I still have some room to still turn a profit.  And if worse case comes to worse case I’ve sold domains before for a $0 profit (it happens even to the best of us).

Check DA/PA: The “Domain Authority” and “Page Authority” metrics gained significant popularity over the last few years. They seem to correlate well with a domain’s ability to rank in the search engines and hence, a domain having a high DA/PA will typically have a higher value. This is not to say domains with low DA/PA can’t sell for a lot of money because, at the end of the day, it’s just one factor. However, it’s good to take a look at these as they may tip the scale in favor of or against some buying decisions.
@ib2 @T-3D I've been a domain investor for over 10 years and have been very successful at it. There's a lot more that goes into it then just registering a domain name and hoping it will sell. You can list your domains on Godaddy auction listings or on premium listings, I've had a lot of success with those. Some good resources are namebio.com, dnjournal.com, namepros.com and others.
I'm not against making money in any way, but $400 doesn't really seem worth the effort and coffee expense invested (I like the good stuff). This is a very basic example used to put the costs in perspective. Most SEO providers charge more than $50 per hour, and you get what you pay for. The above example of a final labor estimate is probably much higher, or if the domain is already ranking high and the owner wants to sell, so is the initial purchase price. Since this is often repeated many times over for multiple domains, it could get time consuming, and expensive.
Listen to expert domainers on domainsherpa.com. Read anything by Michael Berkens, Frank Schilling, Eliot Silver, Morgan Linton, and Ron Jackson. Watch YouTube videos on domain investing. Read blogs like The Industry News Magazine at DNJournal.com. Search #domains on Twitter. Go to industry conferences. Understand the Google Keyword Planner tool inside and out.
HIM: "Mainly small-medium sized local businesses looking for a way to increase their ranking. Most already have a branded domain in place, and have heard that using a keyword domain can help. Or they have seen a competitor ranking using that method. The problem I face is that they don't have a lot of money to spend, so I get lowballed on the asking price. There have been a few that make a ton of profit vs what I purchased it for, but that boils down to luck: what is for sale, when I find it, things like that."
Check DA/PA: The “Domain Authority” and “Page Authority” metrics gained significant popularity over the last few years. They seem to correlate well with a domain’s ability to rank in the search engines and hence, a domain having a high DA/PA will typically have a higher value. This is not to say domains with low DA/PA can’t sell for a lot of money because, at the end of the day, it’s just one factor. However, it’s good to take a look at these as they may tip the scale in favor of or against some buying decisions.

Using the keyword search feature you’d also be able to familiarize yourself with how much domains typically cost on average in a certain industry or niche. Even better, they have an addictive little app called “The Domain Game” available for iOS and Android. They basically give you a domain and you try to guess whether it sold for three, four, five or six figures. You get points for each correct answer and lose points for incorrect ones. You do this for a while and you start to see patterns. Your brain starts connecting the dots and you get better it. Now you’re ready to go out there and scout some domains!
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