Scotland receives its own domain name today. For some the move from .com to .scot may not seem significant but for others this is the next step in Scotland’s online journey.
It’s taken nine years to get to here, and now that ICANN, the body that helps administer the internet has approved .scot, individuals and business can start to show off their pride in being Scottish.
But this isn’t political – both Yes Scotland and Better Together are launch partners in this initiative – it’s about giving Scotland a more prominent identity online.
There will be benefits for all. Not only will organisations stand out, but it could boost e-commerce in Scotland. A survey of 2000 consumers carried out by web hosting firm Fasthosts Internet found that the strongest demand for regional web identity across the British Isles is from Scottish consumers, with 71 per cent saying that they are more likely to buy from a firm that used a .scot web address.
For all concerned, owning a .scot domain will give them a new way to express their identity online. It’s a community domain intended for everybody. 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 selling point for brands.
After such a long campaign to secure the new .scot domain, we’re delighted that we can launch when the eyes of the world are on Scotland, with the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow next week. I am also pleased that among our pioneer domains is www.legacy2014.scot, which highlights the legacy that the Games will offer to Scotland.
We have the backing of the Scottish Government as well as other institutions. I’m hopeful that today is just the first step on a long digital path that will boost Scotland on the global stage and increase Scots usage of online.
• Gavin McCutcheon is director of not-for-profit company Dot Scot Registry