SCOTLAND is set to receive its own internet domain after an international authority gave permission for the country to have its own unique web addresses.
The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has given the go-ahead for website addresses ending in “.scot”, as an alternative to “.co.uk” and “.com”, following a campaign by the not-for-profit company Dot Scot Registry (DSR).
Set up two years ago to push for a Scottish internet domain, the DSR has received backing from the likes of First Minister Alex Salmond, actor Sir Sean Connery and entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer, who believe the “.scot” ending will help promote Scottish culture and identity.
Although fears that introducing the domain will lead to a rush among firms to buy up Scottish versions of their website before rivals, DSR director Gavin McCutcheon spoke of the ‘broad church of support’ the campaign has received, adding: “There are lots of Caledonian societies and Scottish dance societies and pipe bands from around the world, as well as from the ‘Dressed to Kilt’ event in New York, Scottish football authorities, the Scottish Government and businesses who think that having a Scottish name would be beneficial.
“It will mean businesses can have a domain identifiable as belonging to the worldwide family of Scots.”
Although Mr McCutcheon conceded that some might want the domain for the ‘huggy-feely’ aspect of being Scottish, he added that for some firms, it could provide a boost in sales.
The new web addresses will not be available until 2015 - after the referendum on Scottish independence - which would mean the campaigns would not be able to use the domain as a political tool.
Mr McCutcheon added: “I have no desire for this organisation to be used as a political football by anyone, so the timing is actually okay for us.”
The price of the new address has not been revealed, although the Daily Express report that the application process is believed to have cost around £120,000.
A Scottish Government spokesperson welcomed the news, saying: “This domain will offer a branding tool for businesses, giving them the opportunity to clearly identify themselves as Scottish if they so wish.
“Our ambition is for Scotland to be recognised as a world class digital country by 2020 and “.scot” domain helps to reinforce this ambition around the globe.”