Search engine marketers loved SnapNames.  Expired domains used to evade the dreaded "sandbox" aging delay.  I loved SnapNames too — but for a different reason.  I like domain names that don't stink.  The domain aftermarket is a boon for people searching for domain names that don't look like this:

OK, so that's a slight exaggeration, but everyone gets the point.

Google put a stop to this sandbox loophole awhile ago, and now it seems to be quite the opposite situation.

When you snap a domain name, keep in mind that it may be subject to a penalty.  Such was the case for a site I develop —  I had the domain in my posession for 3-4 months before going live.  After launch, Google simply would not index it.  This went on for about 6 months.  Had I known there would be a 6 month penalty, I probably would have put something up earlier to start the clock.  Googlebot would visit daily, download robots.txt and sitemap.xml, then pack its bags and leave.

Yes, I did file a reinclusion request.  It didn't help.  No, the domain did not previously host spam.  Either way, this should have never happened.

I have heard whispers of this many times before, but I heard about it most recently on Netscape's blog, here.

This was extremely frustrating for another reason.  It left the door wide open for content-theft.  Spammers could have snatched the content on the web site for the first 6 months, and they would presumably be flagged as the original authors.  That would make us look like the spammers!  Taking it back down was not an option, either, for several reasons.  Luckily, things did work out, but my fingers still hurt from being crossed for 6 months.  

So my advice here is that as soon as you get an expired domain name, you should put something up right away if possible.  I'm not sure this penalty appies to all snapped domains — but if you're worried about content-theft, you may want to watch and wait before going live with everything.

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