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I always check them out. Many of them or usually around a PR of 5 or so, but the content is poorly written and it looks like they are just putting the posts up there to satiate Google's thirst for new content. I usually do not bite, just because I feel these blogs and sites are not of a high caliber.
However, I recently had this same scenario occur, but it was a PR 6 .org site, and it had a few KILLER backlinks. I researched a little further, and it turns out all these sites linking to it were labeling is as a very reputable Renewable Energy Association or something like that.
This makes me think that this sneaky guy bought up a dead/dying domain that had awesome backlinks and just changed the content....right?
I was tempted to get a link on it just cause it was so good (from an objective Google standpoint) and could help give me a noticeable boost in ranking.
What are your guys thoughts about this?
White/grey/black hat? I'm torn!
Check the whois, there'll be a date registered. that's not perfect, but it's a start. Secondly, check archive.org, that'll also give you some clues. And as you've already done, check the backlinks and the content. If the links and content smell stinky, then you've probably got a repurposed domain.
Under certain circumstances, yes those links will work wonderfully. However I would balance that with a few considerations, primarily how the new content compares to the old content. If the new content is poor, then it likely won't pass a hand check or even a decent automatic filter so the site may get whacked somehow, someday. Of curse, if it does get whacked how is that going to affect your site? (someone does a hand check of that site, that leads to a hand check of your site, you've got one bad link that's one thing. They do a hand check of your site and you're full of that stuff, well, be prepared).
Yes, it can work. Yes, I see risks :).
Are these hand checks commonplace? I am not really familiar with this?