The results can be different on a daily basis because more and more domain names expire on a regular basis, and some of them are worth real money. All that they have to do is to key in particular keywords that clients regularly search for in their niche and appear on the first page of most search engine results. You can get more that a dozen of expired domain names daily using this fantastic tool.
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.

Of course, this does not happen equally across the board. Some site owners are lazy and barely put in any effort. As you can probably tell, the four situations I outlined above probably will not occur for website owners who are lazy. Now, for website owners who put in the work and the time for their online properties, you can bet that they would get to benefit from the four situations outlined above.

If you are pursuing option 1, then you will want to use an automated service for the reasons mentioned in the article. Follow the process in the article to see which registrar the domain name is located at. If it’s at a Auction House like GoDaddy, NameJet or SnapNames, I believe they publicly share if there is a backorder on a domain name but not who placed that backorder. (Any interest in a domain name may be enough for someone else to place a backorder, thereby driving interest in the domain name that may be visible to the registrant.) So if the domain is at a registrar partnered with one of these companies, then you’ll have to monitor it manually (via calendar entries based on the whois expiration data) to maintain your distance.
The third option is the one that's the most time consuming but also has its benefits. It's like having a successful restaurant and buying another restaurant and operating them simultaneously. They're not the exact same restaurant, but both are popular in their own right and make you money. The same goes for Option #3. You could update the content on the old domain and sell the same products that you're selling on your current site. If you can get both sites to rank alongside each other in the SERPs, you're increasing your conversion chances and sales potential.
See 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 account (I believe $5 per year) to bid and buy.
Simple question: say I get the URL I want via auction for however umpteen hundreds of dollars, what about the renewal prices? Am I at the mercy of the auction house every year I want to renew it? Is it as simple as paying 10 or 15 bucks a year like with GoDaddy with a URL I got not through an Auction? I’m willing to pay for the desired URL up front but I don’t know what that entails down the pike.
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 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.

The whitelist filter for wanted characters is now split into three filters. The old whitelist is now named whitelist (only). When used, the domain has to consist only of the defined characters or numbers. No other characters are allowed. The new whitelist (any) filter finds domains that have at least one of the defined characters or numbers. The new whitelist (all) filter finds domains that have all defined characters or numbers at least once.