Back in 1999, Network Solutions was still handling all the registrations for com,net,org domains. Registration requests were handled by submitting an email template. I built scripts for my employer at the time to cycle through a dictionary as well as 2 and 3 letter combinations issuing whois requests. We came to recognize signs in the whois details at that time which indicated a domain was about to drop. When those signals were discovered by the script for a particular domain, I then started another script which would fire off a new email registration request for the domain each minute until the domain was registered. Alas, I was only an employee, but my employer acquired a nice portfolio of domains over a period of time until Netsol stopped using the email registration template system.