Since the decision by ICANN, the mysterious council of elders whose nomenclatory dominion spans, it seems, the entirety of the “world wide web”, to designate .cat as the “sponsored Top-Level Domain” of the Catalonian linguistic and cultural community, much speculation has arisen in various sub-statal lands throughout the world about future TLDs. In our favoured realm of Scotland, a campaign has arisen for .scot to be designated the TLD for Scotland. While I wholeheartedly support the campaign for a Scottish TLD, I have already expressed my reservations about the increasing size (not number) of TLDs. The traditional country-code TLDs are all two-letter combinations, and any new TLDs representing geographic entities ought to stick to this restraint.
But then what would Scotland’s top-level domain be? .sl is taken by Sierra Leone, while .sc belongs to the Seychelles, and .st to São Tomé. We might hark back to the Gaelic with .al for Alba, except that it’s already occupied by Albania. Ah! Caledonia! How about .cd? Nope, that belongs to the Congo. Blast. It might be necessary to go to three letters then, which brings us either to .sco or .sct. Neither look all that attractive, though .sco has the advantage of being pronounceable. Actually, .sco is quite imaginable, when spoken: parliament.gov.sco, fifeherald.sco, glenfiddich.sco. It just doesn’t look right. .scot looks better, but the rhyming nature of “dot scot” is irritating to say aloud.
I do wish they’d make .gb available again. I’d much rather be a “gee-bee” than a “yoo-kay”. Great Britain is a natural entity, after all, whereas the United Kingdom is a government construct. Perhaps if the Union is re-negotiated, we might move from .uk to .gb, just as .yu was changed to .cs when Yugoslavia was renamed Serbia & Montenegro. (The two split not long afterwards, and went for .rs and .me).
With four letters, at least .scot is not the longest proposed top-level domain. Some ninny thinks there should be a .quebec — how cumbersome! .qu would be much better, and one can just imagine the Québécois pronouncing it. Other British proposals include .eng for England and .cym for Wales. “Norn Iron” loses out, as .ni belongs to Nicaragua, but .ul or .uls are conceivable for Ulster. Perhaps the Vatican could dole out .sre — Sancta Romana Ecclesia — for ecclesiastical domains.