(updated 203/09/16) The DotScot registry has been around for a few years and are now available to register as .scot.Their application for .scot was accepted by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in 2012. There was silence for quite a long time after they passed the evaluation process but before the 18th of September a few showcase .scot domains were made live, so it is now real. But it has to be said at a cost of £34.99 which is ten times the cost of a .co.uk, and the full roll out for something as complex as a new domain from a new Registrant might still take some time but it is happening. Early press report say that 4,000 .scot domains have been registered. Sounds like a fair amount in one day, but still quite niche. I’ve seen no figures for how many have been registered and their own news on blog post is dated 23rd October 2014.
So the next question is that if you have a mature well ranked .co.uk domain would you want to migrate to a .scot? More importantly how would your Google rankings be affected by starting again? Knowing Google I’d say not favourably. And that makes it very risky for online brands and retailers unless the transition is managed very well over a very long period, and without looking like a mirror site which could incur a Google penalty. So how long would it take for buyers to trust a new .scot domain? With no apparent advertising budget to promote it maybe quite some time. DotScot’s (.com) website with the last News article dated 18 December 2012 its no wonder most within the industry as still not clued up. Read below research done on the trustworthiness and esteem that .co.uk’s are held in before you choose.
The Scottish Government has now migrated over to .scot now they are .gov.scot, dropping the .uk (which is not even forwarding?). There are many tourism or travel related companies who could benefit from a .scot amongst the Scottish diaspora audience, but is it a landrush opportunity or just another cost to business by the need to duplicate domain name extensions? Always hard to tell in advance, (after having some experience of previously registering EvolutionDesign.co – not ‘co’ for ‘company’ but Co for from Columbia as I later found out) added to the growing domain portfolio of .eu, .net, .info & .org.uk amongst other variants just to keep competitors at bay at ever more annual expense. However one of our clients has now registered NeedAnElectrician.scot, they are SELECT the trade union for Scotland this makes sense as a hook to increase consumer site traffic. This is a hot topic hundreds of new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) extensions are coming up for pre-registration soon such as .travel, .architect, .finance and of course .credit. Yes more opportunities and more cost! And you may need multiple variations, Interestingly enough the DotScot registrar is still using dotscot.net and www.dotscot.com still points to a pre dot.scot campaign page even in late 2016.
Another question is now raised about trust, which is vital in e-commerce transactions. Anecdotal evidence indicates that overseas buyers place a lot more trust in .co.uk domains than some other European on non-geographic domains (including .coms).
Who would want to give that advantage up, Nominet’s own recent report states that 81% of British internet users prefer to use a .uk website.
Click here to view full report findings and thanks to Nominet for supplying this report which is of value to internet marketers. (Report no longer online 3/12/15)
Written by Neale Gilhooley, Evolution Design 10th September 2014, updated 24/9/14 and 20/9/16