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London, Scotland Campaign For New Domains

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The governments of Scotland and London are campaigning for customised top-level domains

London and Scotland are both gearing up campaigns for their own top-level domains (TLDs) ahead of the application window for customised TLDs beginning in January.

The Scottish government has asked UK communications minister Ed Vaizey to back the not-for-profit body Dot Scot Registry (DSR), founded two years ago to campaign for a .scot TLD.

Benefits

The move would mean Scottish Internet users and organisations would no longer need to rely on .co.uk or .com addresses.

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, wrote to Vaizey that .scot would benefit not only those in Scotland but Scots worldwide.

“DotSCOT will be a wonderful asset for establishing a distinctive online identity for many organisations and people who have been described as the worldwide family of Scots and want to demonstrate that identity online,” he said in a statement.

“I am sure the UK Government with its responsibility for internet governance will want to support us. Across the board support would undoubtedly strengthen our hand and build momentum behind the bid.”

London bid

London is also looking into a specific TLD and the capital’s PR agency, London & Partners, said it is exploring the move in coordination with London boroughs and other city organisations.

A .london TLD would mean more promotional opportunities for the city itself as well as businesses and organsiations based in the capital, according to London & Partners.

“London has always been seen as a city that leads on digital innovation and our interest in applying for dot London demonstrates our commitment to maintaining this position,” said Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, in a statement.

The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has said it will open applications for customised TLDs for three months beginning in 12 January. New York City, Berlin, Wales and other areas are expected to apply for TLDs.

In June Icann approved radical changes to the domain name system allowing the use of almost any string of characters and numbers as a TLD, beginning next year.

The changes, which follow years of talks with businesses and governments, will allow the addition of an indefinite number of TLDs to the current list of 22, which include suffixes such as .com, .org and .net. Individuals or organisations will be able to register a TLD of up to 63 characters, with an up-front fee of $185,000 (£115,000) for applying, Icann said.

Economic stimulus

The move could stimulate demand from organisations such as banks that wish to use a specialised TLD to show off their security credentials or entrepreneurs looking to resell TLDs.

Icann will accept TLD applications between 12 January and 12 April of next year, with the first new TLDs expected to go online by November of 2012.

The fee is designed to offset the estimated cost of processing the applications, including possible extra costs such as brand litigation.

The application process will look to weed out cyber-squatters and evaluate aspects such as how the applicant plans to use the TLD and whether the business model seems strong.

If Icann isn’t able to choose a single candidate (say, a global copyright owner for the proposed domain name) the TLD will move into an auction process, but the organisation said it expects most applications won’t reach that stage.