The application for .scot, a new gTLD for Scottish people, is ahead of schedule and is likely to launch before the nation heads to voting booths for an independence referendum later this year.
Glasgow-based applicant Dot Scot Registry signed its ICANN Registry Agreement on January 23. That’s despite having a processing priority number way down the pile at 1,453.
The company had previously expected that it would launch in “early 2015”, according to a press release. Now it’s hoping to launch before the Commonwealth Games kicks off, also in Glasgow, on July 23.
If .scot moves as quickly through the remaining stages of the application process as other registries have, it could be delegated in late March, meaning general availability could come as early as June.
This means the domain is likely to be in the hands of Scots and those of Scottish heritage before the landmark independence referendum, which is set for September 18 this year.
The vote will see Scots asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. If the majority says “yes”, Scotland would withdraw from the United Kingdom and become fully self-governing.
Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, said in the press release:
2014 is an exciting year for Scotland, and I’m delighted that this distinct online identity for the nation, and all who take an interest in Scotland, will become available this summer.
If Scotland does become the world’s newest formally recognized country, it will be eligible for its own two-character ccTLD too.
The string would be designated by the International Standards Organization and is not likely to be particularly meaningful. The only two-character strings remaining that begin with S are .sf, .sp, .sq and .sw.
The process of obtaining a ccTLD would also take at least a year after (if) Scotland is recognized by the United Nations as an independent nation, which wouldn’t be until at least 2016.
Whatever happens, .scot is going to see the light of day well before any potential Scottish ccTLD, perhaps making it the .com to the country’s .us over the long term.