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Is Scotland about to get a domain name? New TLDs have PR and social media implications for business

Those of you who follow domain names – and any decent social media/PR operator should at least have a cursory knowledge of the field – will be aware of ICANN’s plan to release more top level domain (TLD) names to sit alongside .co.uk, .com, .net and so on.

And amongst the earliest proposals (full list of new gTLDs here) are two for .scot (dotscot and dot-scot) but canny businesses should be looking beyond that..scot – on the face of it – looks very appealing because it’s a way of wrapping yourself in tartan but it also lends itself to some creative hijinks too.
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But given Scotland’s confusion over its identity and worries over perception, .scot may not play out as big as many hope. While I think it’s a great idea that’s well overdue, I’ve spoken to companies this week who, whole welcoming the idea, say they wouldn’t host content on a .scot as it may make them look like the are supporting the SNP and chase other potential customers away. One politician had the same fear – if Labour has Labour.Scot does that make it look like it’s pro-independence as opposed to the UK-unifying .co.uk?

(It’s also good to see people being sensible about what goes into the TLD. I remember writing years ago about a possible .sco domain name and it just looked naff so glad to .scot is seen as a more sensible option)

As with most domains, it may be that the most usage comes from outwith the host countries – heck, you could sell tons of .scot to the ex-pat market. Look at .tv – that’s done well outwith the country of origin.

But companies should look beyond the territorial here. There’s far more options to make a play for. For example, whisky companies could push for .dram, .whisky, .scotch. And what about .vodka, .gin and so on?

Sports clubs could buy their own gTLDs and offer them free to fans – imagine the delight of a Celtic fan at having .celtic as domain name.

But just because these options are on offer doesn’t mean they will automatically be big time winners. .co has sold more than 500,000 addresses in one year but .museum has sold only 500.

It will be interesting to watch and see how it plays out – and for creative PRs it’s something else for them to be excited about, while it’s something else for those struggling to comes to term with digital PR to struggle with. One thing’s for sure: anyone forking out for a gTLD is going to need deep pockets as the fees start at around £150,000.

From a basic SEO point of view, the .com still has the advantage (and should still be the first purchase a firm makes in terms of domain names) – it has all the historical links and years of traffic but for new sites setting up or people wanting to have a vanity URL, this may be more their kind of thing.

And I wonder: will we see people trying to register Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and other cities TLDs? And if so, will it be the Scottish ones that snap them up or will it be the other cities with the same name across the globe?
Feel free to discuss the article in the comments section below or drop Craig McGill an email about social media.

4 Comments
  1. There are many implications in the online marketing side of this, for example, even though many of us are very proud of our country, the industry is based upon the British market, .scot might be completely drowned out by the preferred .co.uk. But what is more horrifying to me is all the companies trying to jump on the potential of the tartan pound and setting up even more websites with virtually the same content as their existing sites online, but with some tartan round the fringes, we need less of those corporate pages with many domains and subdomains with the same thing repeated again and again.

    IMHO

    • I agree John. I think – depending on prices – what you might see are companies buying the relevant domains and then just redirecting to their main site. Having said that is there a market for Tartanised products or do people see through that. I mean it’s not as if most of the Scottish press and newspapers are actually skeleton organisations with most of the work done down south is it?

  2. There are many implications in the online marketing side of this, for example, even though many of us are very proud of our country, the industry is based upon the British market, .scot might be completely drowned out by the preferred .co.uk. But what is more horrifying to me is all the companies trying to jump on the potential of the tartan pound and setting up even more websites with virtually the same content as their existing sites online, but with some tartan round the fringes, we need less of those corporate pages with many domains and subdomains with the same thing repeated again and again.

    IMHO

  3. New TLDs are already here:

    Now the Internet offers brand new “Dash” and “Dashcom” domain names as an alternative to the over 200 million “Dot” and “Dotcoms” already registered.

    Sites like Dashworlds.com provide free domains in the format http://scotland-com and http://canny-scot and http://visit-scotland (examples only). Totally outside the realm and control of ICANN, you can create any domain or any TLD in any language, instantly and at no cost (and of course Dashcoms can’t collide with Dotcoms).

    Currently, resolution is via an APP but there’s also an ISP link-in that negates that need. There are now users and memebers in over 90 countries worldwide, with numbers increasing daily.

    The Internet continues to evolve. Not-so-long ago, people would have thought a web based blog such as this to be a waste of time, effort and money. After all why would anyone want to fork out for hugely expensive computers, sign up for extra phone lines, buy modems and routers, buy an OS, learn how to use it all….Just so they could read a magazine?….Why?….When all they had to do was walk down to the local store.

    Having just one Internet in infinite cyberspace is like saying you can go visit anywhere in America just as long as you stick to route 66. So today, just as in the USA (and everywhere else in the world) the Internet has more than one road to travel.

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