Domain Name Watching and Trademark Watching Services make perfect sense when new registrations and applications are being submitted and granted on a daily basis. I think that we can all easily agree that trying to understand new domain name and trademark registrations without an automated service would be nearly impossible.
And when ICANN eventually moves away from these discrete application rounds, I will be the first one to recommend an Application Watching Service.
However, as all new gTLD Applications in this first round will be publicly posted to the ICANN website on May 1st , it would seem that reaching for Ctrl-F would be the quickest and easiest way to search for exact- and near-matches.
Additionally, the applications that are likely to cause the greatest concern are probably those that consist of generic terms being applied for by a single company which intends to restrict ownership to only itself. So looking through the list of applications will be critical – you may not know what is of concern until you actually see it.
Be wary of companies offering new gTLD Application Watching Services at this time. Given that the number of submitted applications will likely be between 1,000 and 1,500, companies should be able to easily review the full list on May 1st, and quickly identify applications of concern.