Registering for a domain name can be quite tricky. If you pick a name that has been used before in the past, it’ll certainly have a past to it that could have negative repercussions for your website. Of course, this isn’t always going to be the case if you pick up a domain name that has a history to it, but there is always that chance you have to consider.
The long and short of it is that domain history does matter more than you might think, and many won’t learn that until it’s too late.
Matt Southern has a column on Search Engine Journal that talks about the claims regarding domain history as a ranking factor. It also shows off the supporting evidence from Google.