Citizens flood online site to avoid calls

People anxious to block telemarketing calls have logged on by the millions to the government's do-not-call Web site since it went live Friday.

Visits to the site, www.donotcall.gov, hit more than 3.4 million during the day of its launch, said Nielsen/NetRatings, an Internet analysis company. That night, people stayed interested, as 3.1 million more people logged on to get information about registering.

'The one-day growth in site traffic for donotcall.gov was unprecedented,' said Patrick Thomas, a senior Internet analyst at the Milpitas, Calif., company.

The numbers dropped almost by half, to 3.3 million visitors, on Saturday, then rose to 4.4 million on Sunday, according to the study.

Managed by the Federal Trade Commission, the site lets citizens put their home and cellular telephone numbers into the National Do Not Call Registry, which forbids telemarketers from calling those numbers for five years. Registration by phone, now available to states west of the Mississippi River, will be available to the entire country on Monday. The service is free.

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