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Traffic Soars to IRS.Gov

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In yet another example that offline events continue to influence online behavior, a deluge of expectant taxpayers flooded the Internal Revenue Service's official Web site. The Web surfers were searching for information about their promised tax rebates. The inquiring traffic made IRS.gov the fastest growing domain for at-work and at-home users for the week ending July 22.

According to a new Nielsen NetRatings report, at-work traffic to IRS.gov shot up 188 percent the week of July 16-July 22. More than 1 million at-work unique visitors went to the site, compared to only 366,000 the week before; additionally, 865,000 visitors went to the government site from home, an increase of 162 percent.

T.S. Kelley, director and principal analyst for Milpitas, Calif.-based NetRatings, noted in the report that Americans received a mass mailing alerting them to the timing and amount of their tax refunds. Consequently, many taxpayers went online to get more details. "The latest increase in traffic to the government site is yet another indication that Americans are using the Web as a day-to-day information tool," said Kelly.