New internet domain .scot launches
A new top-level internet domain for Scotland has been launched, allowing people to choose a .scot web or email address for the first time.
About 50 sites run by "launch pioneers" are expected to go live on Tuesday.
Among those who have signed up for a new domain are the Scottish government, referendum campaigners Yes Scotland and Better Together, WWF Scotland, NHS Scotland and Scouts Scotland.
International pioneers include the Louisiana Scots and the Clan Wallace.
The .scot domain is one of a number of new top-level domains that are becoming available this year, such as .wales, .london, .berlin and .NYC.
It was launched after not-for-profit company Dot Scot Registry agreed terms with international regulators Icann to operate the new domain.First pioneer
The first pioneer to go live on Tuesday was internet service provider Calico, which is showcasing the top-level domain to help to raise awareness and drive public interest in the domain ending.
Others were expected to launch their .scot sites over the course of the day.
Dot Scot director Gavin McCutcheon said: "It was from noon that the registry could accept the new domains.
End Quote Nicola Sturgeon Deputy First Minister
I am confident that the .scot domain name will prove to be a real asset to the people of Scotland and to the worldwide family of Scots”
"From there, the owners of the domains do their part and set it up so that the domain points to their servers.
"Once that's complete, it can take up to a few hours for the new information to propagate across the internet through the various domain name servers.
"The domains should be resolving very soon, this is no glitch."
Earlier, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the launch.
"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," she said.
"I am confident that the .scot domain name will prove to be a real asset to the people of Scotland and to the worldwide family of Scots.
"I am looking forward to the Scottish government being able to make use of this new domain and to having www.gov.scot up and running before the end of the year, as well as our pioneer domains including www.welcome.scot, which go live today."
Mr McCutcheon described it as a "fantastic day for Scotland online".
"Owning a .scot domain will allow people and organisations a new unique way to express their identity online," he said.
"It's a community domain intended for everybody who lives and works in Scotland - and for the 50 million people around the globe who are part of Scotland's diaspora.
"After such a long campaign to secure the new .scot domain, we're delighted that we can launch when the eyes of the world are on Scotland, with the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow next week."
For the next 60 days, only launch pioneers will be allowed to use the .scot domain, but others are being invited to register interest via http://nic.scot. After 23 September, the domain will be open to all.
Richard Stevenson, of domain name registrar 1&1 Internet Ltd, said there had been strong demand for .scot reservations.
"Across history, Scotland has been synonymous with ambitious, truly innovative and impactful technology," he added.
"For Scottish businesses and citizens alike, the .scot domain is the opportunity to strengthen their web and email identity, optimise the way in which their websites are found and, importantly, leverage the enormously valuable brand that Scotland holds worldwide."