Scotland’s own domain .scot went live from 2pm (GMT+1) today (September 23) giving Scots, businesses and relevant parties the chance to own their own Scottish part of the internet.
It puts Scotland on parity with the likes of Wales, London, Berlin and New York City as having a domain of its own instead of having to sign up to .com, co.uk or .uk.
There has been considerable interest in the domain since July when the details and timetable of availability went mainstream. Businesses were allowed to register for trademarks in July but today sees the domain opened up to the world.
Director of the DotScot Registrar Gavin McCutcheon said while the recent referendum debate has helped, .scot transcends politics and the proof of that is in the thousands who have signed up.
He said: “There’s been huge interest in .scot since July when we went public. We’ve seen strong interest from many sectors but it’s particularly pleasing to see the international digital giants like Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram get on board.”
“But it’s not just about the businesses – international and local – it’s about individuals and I’m hearing lots of individuals are getting involved which ties in with the whole ethos of the web being for everyone.”
“That’s not to say the Indyref didn’t help. People on both sides are now wanting to express their Scottish identity more and I think it’s going to be really exciting to see what is registered tomorrow and then what websites go live quickly.”
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “With .scot domains now generally available, people at home and abroad have a new opportunity to express their Scottish identity or affinity online.”
“I also look forward to www.gov.scot being adopted in the coming months as the primary web address for the Scottish Government.”
Web domain registrars say the interest has been incredibly positive and bodes well for a very successful general launch.
Sarah Haran, managing director of Glasgow-headquartered Easyspace, said: “As a domain name and hosting company with many Scottish customers we have noticed the huge engagement of the online community with the recent referendum debate.”
“It shows there is a definite clamour for a new national identity online and having a .scot web or email address can be part of that.”
Graeme Davis, Managing Director IT Foundations Limited, said: “One customer bought 20 domains already.”
“Our customers have taken a real interest in .scot domain at a time when Scotland and our national identity is being discussed so extensively at home and around the world.”
“There has never been a better or more apt time to register a domain and proudly say ‘I’m Scottish’.”
Richard Stevenson, of 1&1 Internet Ltd, added: “The launch of .scot has been one of the most anticipated TLDs to date. We wish all those applying for the new .scot the best of luck and look forward to sharing the success stories of some of these businesses.”
A recent study commissioned by Fasthosts found strong demand for regional identity within the British Isles, 58 per cent overall, with the strongest being from Scottish consumers, where 71 per cent admit they are more likely to buy from a firm that used a .SCOT web address.
Some organisations are already seeing the benefits of a .scot domain. Scouts Scotland were amongst the organisations to be chosen as advance Pioneers for the domain back in July.
Graham Haddock, Chief Commissioner for Scouts Scotland, said: “Online is where many people – members and potential members – get their information about Scouts and even though we are a successful global youth organisation, Scouting exists in local communities right across Scotland.”
“As such, it made complete sense for the Scouts in Scotland to have a strong presence and identity via www.scouts.scot. It also plays to remind people that The Scout Association is an ever changing organisation as we always seek to be relevant and attractive to young people.”
Gavin added: “It is entirely right that Scotland should have its own distinctive and recognisable Internet domain, in particular one that will resonate internationally, helping to promote Scottish business and culture throughout the world.
“I am confident that the .scot domain name will prove to be a real asset to the people of Scotland and to the worldwide family of Scots.”
“This is a fantastic day for Scotland online and gives our nation a chance to stand out, and be seen as the digital pioneer that many know it to be.
“Owning a .scot domain will allow people and organisations a new unique way to express their identity online. It’s a community domain intended for everybody who lives and works in Scotland, and for the 50 million people around the globe who are part of Scotland’s diaspora.”
“It’s a chance for people here in Scotland, and for Scottish communities abroad, to build cultural and economic links as well as providing a strong Unique Selling Point for brands.”
Pricing for domains depends on the registrar selling but the expected average price is to be around £20 to £25 for a one year registration. Dot Scot is non-profit with the any profit being used to fund digital initiatives in Scotland.