Sgt_Kickaxe - 5:53 am on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)
Thinking out loud here...
Given that there's now a tool to disavow previous links, it should be possible to buy the domain and get rid of all prior history before putting up a new site. If you're buying the domain simply for the name, this is an approach that would make sense. Buy, disavow, start building new content, and give it some time.
I couldn't care less about previous history beyond not wanting it to hold the potential of the new site down. I won't be redirecting old urls or re-using old content but the name, it's truly stellar for a subject I'm interested in.
They did attempt to sell it for a huge sum via an auction service but there were no buyers and it sits available right now, still.
I don't see any sign of negative backlinks, as I mentioned I did see spammy keyword practices such as having two dozen nearly identical articles with only slightly different titles. I'm going to roll the dice and keep advertising off the site until I get a feel for any ranking issues.
I'll try to come back in a few months to let you know the results.