I’ve read about a number of companies and organizations that have already announced plans to apply for a new gTLD. Several of the potential new gTLDs have more than one applicant at this point. From my perspective, it may be best for companies to announce their gTLD application intentions early to dissuade others from applying for the same extension.
Some keywords are more likely to be contested than others. I believe there have been two or more companies announcing their intention to apply for extensions like .nyc, .eco, .gay and a few others. I would imagine there were be multiple applicants for gTLDs like .insure, .hotel, .eat….etc.
However, there are probably plenty of keyword extensions where competition won’t be as fierce. I received a press release from a company that plans to launch .Jewelers, and by being first to announce this, it might dissuade others from applying. With so many available keyword gTLDs, why choose one that someone already claimed, when that will likely mean a lot more money to win the bid?
In my opinion, those who announce intentions earlier are less likely to face competition from others. If I had plans to apply for a particular gTLD and I heard that another company was going to apply as well, I would probably shift my focus elsewhere. The application process should be focusing on how to sell domain names and monetize the gTLD rather than on how to win the bid.