Ultimately, I was left with a semi-automated process of scraping sites and running an intricate series of processes to come up with a list of expired domains that I then had to evaluate by hand. This meant I had Majestic and Moz open to check the backlink anchor text and Archive.org to check for obvious spam for every single possible domain. The process was excruciatingly slow and tedious, but absolutely necessary to find domains that would be suitable for building out.

Thanks, Michael. I cannot find the auction site house of this registrar. It IS up for auction, but it’s NOT fully expired nor dropped – so it appears as though using an automated domain name backorder service may not be the best course of action. The URL still renews every year and is not set to expire until June 2016. The registrar is DOMREG LTD and seems to be tied in to LIBRIS.com. Any suggestions? I just need to ensure my $ is going to the actual entity that’ll grant me the URL. I’m unclear how to avoid paying $ for the URL to a company/service that can’t actually do anything for me (i.e., getting ripped off). Thanks for any direction you can offer.

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.
i had a backorder for a domian that was registered at godaddy. The backorder of the domain says the domain expires feb 23, 2015. However, when i check the whois on different websites, it now says the domain is registered through feb 2016. However, GODADDY back ordering still has the domain with the expiration date of feb 23, 2015. Why would they be showing 2 different dates? The domain is not even in an auction, so the 2016 seems like the new correct date?

The dropdate for the following TLDs is not verified. Domains might drop earlier or later: .eu .cat .travel .ae .af .as .at .aw .be .bg .bi .bj .bo .bw .cl .co .cx .cz .dk .dm .es .fi .fo .fr .gd .gg .gi .hk .hr .hu .ie .io .iq .ir .je .jp .ki .kz .lt .lu .lv .md .mg .mx .nl .nc .nf .no .nz .pe .pf .pl .pt .ru .sg .si .sm .sn .so .st .su .sx .to .uk .uz .za .berlin .cloud

If you buy keyword specific domains, you're really buying the type in traffic.  I use the URL builder and redirect through that URL so you can see how much traffic your getting from the keyword domain.  There seems to be no rythme or reason to what keyword domains deliver traffic and what don't.  By tracking traffic with the Google URL builder you get a feel for what names are giving you traffic and which are not. ie. the plural, the singular, two words, three words, the possessive, etc.
1. Some domain names don’t go to auction and are instead held by the registrar in their own portfolios (you called this “warehousing” by the registrar). This is probably less than 0.001% of the domain names….actually, probably even less. I suspect it would only be premium domain names with massive exact match local search quantities. Not surprisingly, I cannot find any information from registrars about their procedure, quantities of domains their keep, or ICANN’s rules (if any) about this.
It will just go on and on and on endlessly, so that really is like a set and forget setting. Okay, now before I show you it in action, I'll just skim over some of these stats stuff. Here this is pretty self-explanatory really so that's the amount pages crawled so far, that's how many pages were crawling per minute, so once it's been running for a minute that that'll date and they'll update every minute after that. That is if the websites are blocking are crawl. Thatw how many websites currently are been crawled, so how many websites have been crawled. That's if we have it have it had any registrar errors, so we fired off some domains to see if they're available or not and there's been any errors in checking them it displays there.
The dropdate for the following TLDs is not verified. Domains might drop earlier or later: .eu .cat .travel .ae .af .as .at .aw .be .bg .bi .bj .bo .bw .cl .co .cx .cz .dk .dm .es .fi .fo .fr .gd .gg .gi .hk .hr .hu .ie .io .iq .ir .je .jp .ki .kz .lt .lu .lv .md .mg .mx .nl .nc .nf .no .nz .pe .pf .pl .pt .ru .sg .si .sm .sn .so .st .su .sx .to .uk .uz .za .berlin .cloud