Lately I've noticed a lot of questions in Q&A centering on purchasing expired domains. A lot of our members have expressed interest in buying old domains for a variety of prices (some are cheap, some are going for upwards of $50k) and want some advice on what to do with the domains once they've been purchased. I'm no domainer, nor am I an expert in such a business tactic, but I generally recommend one of three different options for an expired domain (and would love to hear more if you've got any).
The easiest and least time consuming option is to 301 redirect the old domain to your existing site. This tactic obviously works best if both sites are in the same sector and are targeting the same keywords; otherwise, if you have a pet supply site and you buy an old Texas Hold 'Em poker site, a redirect probably might raise some eyebrows among the search engines. If, however, your site is brandnamepets.com and you buy onlinepetsupply.com and 301 redirect the domain over, you're inheriting a lot of topical and appropriate links.
Domain name sellers are advised to use Sedo.com to list their domain name. The real advantage with Sedo.com is the mandatory escrow service that comes with every transaction. The site charges the seller a commission of 15% per transaction or USD 50, whichever is higher, for domain names featured on the site. Sellers who do not list with Sedo.com but would like to use their escrow service will have to pay the minimum transaction fee of USD 50, or 3% of the transaction, whichever is higher.
One big tip is to find a domain that someone can make money with. If you only owned that 1 domain, could you earn a living? This helps you focus on the top 1% of domains and ignore the junk that you will struggle to resell. You must get this right because domaining can bankrupt you fast if you buy the wrong domains. Godaddy is also great for grabbing expiring domains for much less.

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.
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.
Use escrow services for direct sales. When you are dealing directly with the buyer, make sure that any money that is transferred goes through an escrow service. This will ensure that all checks clear and that you aren't left with a bounced check and no domain. Escrow services may add a few days to a sale and cost you a percentage, but they can save you a lot of heartache.
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! 
Acquiring what you believe may be a valuable domain name is the easiest part of the equation.  Finding the right  buyer is much more difficult. Using auction sites and forums is perhaps the best way to find qualified buyers that are interested in your domain, and using auctions will take some of the stress away from establishing the value of a domain name yourself.

I've seen some people comment about losing the link value of domains that have expired and picked up, but what about non-expired domains?  Let's say a competitor is going out of business and they still have a year or two left, and we buy their domain and site.  Is there a risk changing registrant info and registrars, even if I keep their site up and mostly the same as before?  I was under the impression that I'd want to keep it under their name so as not to hit the uber-reset button on the domain's inbound link value.
The first thing you need to do is signup at Namejet in order to get your account (signup is free).  You can then use their search functionality to sort through all the upcoming domains for auction.  Place bids for $69 on the ones you want to go to auction for.  If you bid on 100 different domains for $69 each, and there is 50 bidders for each auction you need to understand you aren’t going to owe any money, you are not committing $6,900 to Namejet.  By entering that $69 you are getting an entry into the live bidding when the 30 days expire.  Only if you are the ONLY bidder on a domain would you automatically win the domain and owe $69 to Namejet.

Since the Buyer pays Escrow.com and not the Seller, Escrow.com can withhold payment until we're satisfied the domain name has been transferred by the Seller. One of the ways Escrow.com does this is by checking the WHOIS database of the appropriate Registrar to make certain it properly reflects the new Buyer's name as the domain name Registrant. Once this has been verified, Escrow.com releases payment to the Seller.
Yes, buying existing domain names can be profitable too. Existing domains with a potential for profit can be found using Sedo. Make sure you pick domain names that have good traffic, backlinks and Google PageRank under 17 characters. Also, steer clear of existing domain names containing special characters or numbers because they are not likely to be sold.
Above you provided great information about buying and selling domain names. I have been to many blogs about the same and I have read the people make millions just by selling domain names. It's a process that one needs to learn with time and can give a good earning by reselling the domain name. The business is fruitful but one needs to read, understand the value of a domain name. Buying every domain name is a waste of money. One must see the future potential growth for that particular domain.
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.
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.

So, you paste the domain into here and click on the search domains button. This will show you more information about the pending delete status domain. In this case, you have to order by June 13th and today is the 10th. So, you have three days and you just add it to your cart as if you’re just buying anything online. Just check it off and click add to cart. It’s added to your cart and they will try to get it on your behalf.
To sell a domain name, one should learn to price it. Many sellers fail to sell names in the marketplace, simply because they overpriced the domain, and thereby lost the chance to sell it. A lack of knowledge leads to erratic pricing. Experienced buyers will not try to bargain, unless you have a very rare name. A seller should therefore, understand how good the domain name is. What price will he get from a buyer? What suffix does it carry? For instance, .com names are likely to sell fast and will bring greater profits than, say .info names. Similarly, .net, .org and .in domain names are the best to make decent profit.
Yandex replaced TCI with SQI (Site Quality Index). SQI looks similar to TCI, so I re-used the old TCI field, however all values are now the new SQI. Not all domains are checked yet, but all that had TCI > 0, are now switched to SQI and all newly added domains are also checked for SQI (starting today). Updating all domains will take a couple months.
The backlink profile of a recently-available domain is a double-edged sword. While some expired domains have been well cared for by their previous owners and have high-quality links from reputable websites, some contain quite questionable backlinks. The worst case scenario is that the domain was merely used as a link farm to strengthen a major project in a satellite domain network and has already been penalized by some search engines.
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! 
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.
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