If your domain name was in fact stolen from you, please go file a police report as soon as possible. If, instead, you allowed your domain name to expire through carelessness or ignorance, then you’ve learned a valuable lesson: domains have value. I’m not saying this to be a jerk, I’m saying this because words matter and saying something was “stolen” when in fact it was allowed to expire is not truth. I’m happy to share my knowledge as clearly as possible for others to benefit from, and all I ask is that others do the same.

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.
I am a rather gray-hat affiliate marketer by trade, but I"m looking more into going into local SEO and blogging ventures that I feel will be most sustainable. I am having serious moral issues with using any of my link building strategies, but the one I'm struggling morally and long-term strategy-wise is the use of a manufactured link-juice-flowing-thick private blog network. I believe the majority of these will ultimately fall by the wayside in the future when their social value and content are proven to lack substance by machine reading and advanced social metrics. 
Once a domain expires, the registrar will allow around 30 days for the original owner to renew it. This period depends on the registrar and can range from 2 weeks to a whole year. Once this period is over, the domain enters the "Pending Delete" status, during which it cannot be renewed, purchased or modified in any way. Once the Pending delete status is over, the domain is dropped back into the available pool, and can now be purchased by anyone.
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.  
Hi, I purchased a .org domain in a Godaddy auction, actually the closeout auction so it had been renewable and then available as a closeout after 36 days. I purchased the closeout domain because I was thinking of using it as a catchy anagram. I instead offered it to the Trademarked company to purchase for a nice sum of money, and now they are threatening to file legal action against me for “Domain Squatting” saying that I purchased it in bad faith. etc… The way I see it, is it was available for them to renew for 26 days, and if it was not owned by them they had a window of 10 days to purchase the name before I did in the regular auction. What’s your thoughts on this?
Your course of action really depends on how much work and effort you can put into the expired domain. If you're barely able to maintain and optimize your current site, you probably want to just 301 redirect the old site (note: see my amended comment above about the link value not likely to be passed). If, however, you're more creative and have some time on your hands, you can try your hand at crafting a microsite. If you really know your stuff and are experienced at making money off various websites, you'd probably do well with the third option.
We do not only have Expired Domains, but you can also find lists of Deleted Domains for a lot of TLDs. Deleted Domains or Dropped Domains are available for registration and can be picked up for just the normal regfee at your preferred domain registrar! All Domains have the typical SEO relevant data, like Number of Backlinks, Archive.org Birth Date and a lot more.
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