In just sixty two days’ time the Scottish population will be able to vote on whether to stay within the UK or become an independent country. In the build up to the referendum we have heard numerous reasons why Scotland wants their independence, such as the fact that it will enable them to have more control over their country’s laws and legislation. Furthermore, some campaigners have argued that by becoming an independent country, Scotland will no longer have to live in England’s shadow when it comes to business.
Whether Scotland should be independent to the rest of the UK or not isn’t something that Fluidata can truly comment on, however it is interesting to see that the country has recently received its own domain: .scot. As of next Tuesday, around fifty websites will launch with the .scot domain including the Scottish government, referendum campaigners Yes Scotland and Better Together, WWF Scotland, NHS Scotland and Scouts Scotland.
However, Scotland is not the only area that has recently been given its own domain, as we have also seen the launch of .wales, .london, .berlin and .NYC. The new .scot domain was made possible due to the not-for-profit company Dot Scot Registry working with international regulators Icann. Dot Scot director Gavin McCutcheon said: "Icann threw the switch, so to speak, on .scot at noon today. It was from noon that the registry could accept the new domains. From there, the owners of the domains do their part and set it up so that the domain points to their servers.
"Once that's complete, it can take up to a few hours for the new information to propagate across the Internet through the various domain name servers. The domains should be resolving very soon, this is no glitch. 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. 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."
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been extremely pleased with the launch, and said: "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. I am looking forward to the Scottish government being able to make use of this new domain and to having www.gov.scot up and running before the end of the year, as well as our pioneer domains including www.welcome.scot, which go live today."
Already, there have been reports that a number of Scottish businesses have been securing .scot domains, with Richard Stevenson from domain name registrar 1&1 Internet Ltd, saying: "Across history, Scotland has been synonymous with ambitious, truly innovative and impactful technology. For Scottish businesses and citizens alike, the .scot domain is the opportunity to strengthen their web and email identity, optimise the way in which their websites are found and, importantly, leverage the enormously valuable brand that Scotland holds worldwide."
Regardless of what happens after the referendum in September, it is still of note that Scotland has now established itself in the online community with its own unique domain name. It’s not uncommon for companies to differentiate themselves from similar businesses by adopting a location based domain, which means that this trend could spread worldwide in the next few years.
Along with enabling Scottish businesses to accurately display to users where they are based, the new domain could also have a positive effect on the Scottish technology sector as a whole. As more companies look to identify themselves with a .scot domain, we are also likely to see them develop advanced solutions and technology such as leased-line connections, Virtual Private Networking (VPN) and secure hosting services.
Simon Stokes, Account Director at Fluidata (and a proud Scotsman), said: “Scotland has one of the most recognisable cultures in the world and a .scot domain allows for this culture to be embraced and celebrated. However, an independent domain is only one step on a much larger digital journey. Scotland still has a huge challenge in connecting some of the most remote areas of British Isle to super-fast broadband. It is only through innovative collaboration and local engagement that Scotland can achieve digital equality and begin to see the benefits of a connected country.”