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Now Scotland gets its very own internet domain name

The Scottish internet is set to be born next week as the country gets its own national domain name for the first time - with the expected profits to be invested in digital initiatives proposed by the public.

Signalling the creation of a national digital identity after eight years of hard negotiation, Tuesday will see more than 50 sites - including efforts from both the Yes and Better Together campaigns - appear online using the new .scot address.

The move, which will enable businesses, charities and individuals to identify themselves online as part of the global Scottish diaspora, is being hailed by the organisation behind the launch as a significant landmark for the country's digital sector.

"This is a fantastic day for Scotland's online community and a real step forward in terms of how the country and its people can identify themselves in the digital marketplace," said Gavin McCutcheon, a director of .scot creators the Dot Scot Registry.

"Our international reputation for ingenuity, quality and invention is beyond doubt, but we are often reluctant to exploit that on a global stage. The .scot domain will enable businesses and organisations from all sectors to identify with that legacy, as well as giving the country a chance to be seen as the forward thinking economy that it is."

Aimed at an international Scottish diaspora in excess of 50 million worldwide, more than 10,000 organisations and individuals have lodged expressions of interest in registering .scot addresses.

Around 50 "pioneer" sites from organisations including the Scottish Government, Scottish Bakers and the Scouts in Scotland will go online on Tuesday, with public registrations opening after a 60-day consolidation period required by internet regulator, ICANN.

The two-month moratorium will enable existing brands to register their legal right to trademark-based domains, although the Dot Scot Registry has ensured that every settlement name in Scotland has been protected from opportunistic cyber squatters. Addresses invoking placenames like Auchmithie.scot will only be available to verified community representatives.

"One of the keys to preserving the .scot domain will be in ensuring that it remains both reputable and relevant. Anyone registering an address must state their connection to Scotland, spam sites won't be tolerated and domains will be policed to ensure adherence to our guidelines," said McCutcheon.

The domains will cost around £25, although the Dot Scot Registry intends to reduce prices. Potential sales figures are difficult to predict, but more than 30 of the world's largest registration services have signed up to sell the new digital identity.

Founded in 2006 by volunteers from across the Scottish technology sector, the Dot Scot Registry is a non-profit organisation. After costs all revenues will go to projects targeting digital issues.

The organisation claims it will not prescribe what form such initiatives should take, instead holding regular consultations to source ideas.

"We don't want to tell people what Scotland's digital sector needs, we want them to tell us. No matter what their proposal is - whether it's an educational project or a plan to boost broadband for a remote community - we will listen to their ideas and support them wherever we can," McCutcheon said.

"Creating the .scot domain is a significant step in the right direction but Scotland has a way to go before it is ready to really take advantage of the digital opportunity."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 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. It is an another important step towards ensuring that Scotland is recognised as a world-class digital country."

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