See https://www.domainsherpa.com/domain-name-dictionary/life-cycle-of-a-typical-gtld-domain-name/. They start it in auction listings after it expires and before pending delete. I don’t know the exact dates, but if you monitor it you’ll see it go from auction, to closeout, to drop. You’ll need an auctions.godaddy.com account (I believe $5 per year) to bid and buy.
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.  
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.
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.
However, Pool uses what some have called a “two-phase” auction system. This means that once you win your original backorder, Pool will then move you into the auction phase where you compete with other bidders for the domain. Pool doesn’t reveal how many bidders there are or what they’re bidding, so you have to offer the highest price you’re willing to if you want to get that dream domain.

However, what do you think about buying expired high PR domains and creating local directories, business reivew, and event calendar sites that actually provide a value to the community? Then include a sponsored link from local business that is trying to rank? Do you think a method like that is a. morally soluble and b. viable long-term because it creates value?
There is no easy way to explain “all” things about expired domain names. As you stated Michael, Network Solutions domain names go to the partnered domain auction service NameJet.com BUT, not “all” do… NSI customers have the option to opt-out of having expired domains go to auction. If a customer picks this option, the domain name would go through the drop process and go PendingDelete around the 71st day after the expire date. When it is released from the registry, the domain name is fair game to the major dropcatching services and the private ones. This still doesn’t mean anybody would grab it, and the domain may become available to hand register.
Finally, if you were to manually check for drop domains, you have to jump through many hoops. It's a very labor intensive and often confusing process. When you see that a domain name is available, you shouldn’t just stop there. You should also pay attention to how many backlinks it had, how niche-specific the domain is, what kind of websites link to it, did it get signals from social media, and other indicators of quality. If you were to try to look for drop domains manually, it can be a very, very intimidating process. Thankfully, there is an easier solution.
I’m trying to get a hold a domain name that’s the name of my business. The domain is “[domainremoved].com”. I own the “.US” version of it, but I really want the “.Com” version. It’s been registered since 2009 by Proxy Tech Privacy Services with Alpine Domains (registrar) and is expiring next month. They aren’t using the domain for anything other than a rip-off service to make websites. I got a quote to see how much they are charging for just the domain and it’s in the thousands! Ridiculous!!!
From a most basic perspective, any website or platform on the internet that allows people to post a link which goes to an outside site is a potential source of traffic. However, traffic sources are not created equal. Some traffic sources are very problematic. For example, if you were to go to social media sites and just share content and links, chances are, somebody at some time will object to that practice. They would say you’re spamming. It's very easy to get your affiliate account shut down because people complain. Similarly, you could be blogging for what seems like forever and fail to get much love from search engines.
This is not the case at GoDaddy Auctions, however. There, GoDaddy starts the auction before the domain names has fully expired and the registrant does have the ability to pay a one-time restoration fee to restore ownership. This is particularly frustrating to those bidding in the auction, as you may be the winning bidder and pay your winning bid price only to find out a few days later that it was restored. You then have to wait for a refund from GoDaddy.
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.
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