Drop catching is the process of registering a domain name, after the current owner fails to renew it for whatever reason. Domain names are never owned like property, they are more licensed for a period of time, 1yr-10yrs per time, indefinitely.
Registries usually provide some form of redemption period, usually of around 1 calendar month but some up to 3 months, following the expiration of a domain name, in which only the owner is able to renew the domain. Domain names are then “dropped” at a random time on a specific day or on a totally random time and day.
Realistically the average man in the street has very little chance of registering or even “catching” a desirable dropping domain without professional help. Professional drop catchers can either have a deal with the registry such as GoDaddy, Snap Names etc. However in the . As of the 2nd quarter of 2014, it is now possible in a way for such deals to exist within the .UK namespace.
Professional .CO.UK Catchers have invested huge amounts of time and often large sums money developing fast systems which scan up to 16.6x per second on standard systems and upto 35x on secondary (or delayed) systems.
This means they can scan over 50x per second.
There are essentially 2 types of drop catcher within the .UK namespace which is where I will concentrate on, since this is my market.
Public Facing Drop Catchers
These are drop catchers who have built a system, and offer to catch for the general public. This means they are often targeting many names, possibly dozens of names, as a result there chances of securing a “booked” name are slim, but still much faster than any man could hand register. Realistically, even with 12 names loaded, they can spot and register a domain name in under 3 seconds, more likely a split second.
Private Drop Catchers
These are the people who target 1 or 2 names, and often scan for a name 8-10x per second, meaning they will notice and register a name 10-20x quicker than a public catcher.
Even this isn’t necessarily a guarantee of securing a domain name. There are 1,000 opportunities per second for a domain name to be released, and even the fastest catcher can only check 50 times per second, which means one of the dozen public catchers can get lucky, and or one of the 100 private catchers.
There are regular stand out cases who catch regularly, and you can pay a sufficiently high sum for them to try on your behalf, but generally they catch for themselves.