I have an idea for a new gTLD. Can I register my idea with ICANN in advance of the next application period?

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There will be no pre-registration. The application process for new gTLDs is not a “first-come, first-served” process. ICANN will accept submissions only during an open application period. As such, there is no incentive to ensuring your application is received before everyone else's application. Instead, applicants will need to meet the objective criteria set forth in the Applicant Guidebook. To be selected to operate a new TLD, an applicant must demonstrate that, among other criteria, it has strong technical and financial capability and a commitment to comply with contractual requirements.