The Scottish government hopes to receive support from the rest of the UK in its bid for a distinctive ".scot" suffix, in the Top Level Domains application window.

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment has written to Ed Vaizey, communications minister, asking him to back the not-for-profit company Dot Scot Registry.

The company plans to set in place a ".scot" suffix instead of the usual ".com" or "".

The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers announced that the application period for TLDs will run for three months, starting next Jan. 12.

This has paved the way for hundreds of bids for domains including ".nyc," ".london," ".cymru" for location-based domains and ".xxx" for adult websites.

The process will greatly expand the number of domains available to Internet users

Neil said: "The Scottish government is behind this company because we believe there is strong demand for a dotSCOT domain and that it should be run as a public resource on a not-for-profit basis that will quickly become self-financing.

"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.

"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."

Chief executive of the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, Stewart Nicol, added that .scot would ensure the country has "a local identity over the Internet."