Expired domains have gone through many phases over the years, and you will get a ton of information just by looking around. There is certainly a history of the usage of utilizing expired domains going as far back as the mid to early 2000’s and probably even earlier.
Around the early to mid-2000’s there was only one way that you could purchase expired domains, and that was through a company called Network Solutions, you had to go through them if you wanted a domain that dropped.
Also if you do a Google search (and filter by an earlier date) you will find domain forums such as webhostingtalk.com (a forum post at the beginning of 2001) that has various members talking about where to buy expired domains, and the funny thing is those members discussed the hassle of getting expired domains from Network Solutions. Again, you got to remember in those times Network Solutions was the only player in town to get those expired domains. My how times have changed!
In 2009 searchengineland.com had this article on whether back links from expired domains count with Google – http://searchengineland.com/do-links-from-expired-domains-count-with-google-17811
Here is another old post also going back to 2009 from Moz.com talking about the benefits of using expired domains – https://moz.com/blog/buying-expired-domains-whats-the-best-strategy
They go through some pretty good recommendations on how to best utilize expired domains for your online business.
And just a few years ago Hayden Miyamoto of Nohatmedia was interviewed on a podcast talking about the benefits of using expired domains and how it helped his business. The Podcast is here: Link
Expired Domains – Two Camps
Currently, I see two expired domain camps out there, one is the “pro” expired domain buying group, they are the ones touting how great expired domains work for their websites. There are many top internet marketers (today) that still vouch for their effectiveness.
The other group is, of course, the expired domains “cons” group. You might have heard from them. They mention that (for some of them) the latest Google algorithm updates wiped out their expired private network sites. Spencer Haws (of Niche Pursuits) earlier wrote a post that stated “Alright Google, You Win…I’ll Never Use Private Blog Networks Again!” you can see the post here.
But maybe there is more than meets the eye. Did those that got hit, were their sites properly protected from the prying eyes of Google? In other words, did they do things that Google could tell (from their latest algo) that they were using PBN’s? Or did they use “thin content” on their pbn’s that told Google these where “cheap” low quality sites?
So the next obvious question is. Do they still work?
The short answer is Yes.
As long as you are not waving a flag to Google and making it easy for them to tell you are using expired domains as part of your network backlink strategy. As always you have to put in the work to make your expired domain site look like a “real website” and to be careful not to leave any “footprints”. Put quality into your PBN’s and they should last you a long time.
All in all, as you can see from the above info that expired domains has been around for awhile and doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon as long as you put in the time and willing to use best practices.