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Americans go online to donate to tsunami relief


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(CNN) -- Thousands of Americans were clicking Internet sites Friday, donating millions to help victims of Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis.

The giant Internet retailer Amazon.com placed a link to the American Red Cross prominently on its opening page. By midday Friday, more than 100,000 people had donated more than $8 million.

The Internet portal, Yahoo.com, also set up a link to the Red Cross and other charities. In the first 18 hours, according to Yahoo spokeswoman Nicki Dugan, more than 12,000 donors had contributed over $1.2 million to the Red Cross.

Dugan said Yahoo was also hosting the Red Cross donation site because the Red Cross had become overwhelmed with donations. She said the site was getting "around 450 clicks a minute."

Other Internet portals and providers such as Google.com and AOL.com were also carrying links to the Red Cross and other charities.

Amazon said in a statement that it offered its site because it "provides a safe and secure platform where those wishing to help can easily make a financial contribution to the relief efforts."

Amazon said 100 percent of the donations go to the Red Cross.

The world's largest online trading community, eBay.com, is offering donation opportunities to eight aid organizations through its Web site. Sellers on eBay can also sell items through the company's eBay "giving works" program and donate 10 to 100 percent of the proceeds to one of the eight charities.

The NonProfit Times, a publication for nonprofit managers, reported that online fund raising for nonprofits brought in about $2 billion in 2003, a 60 percent increase over the previous year. Overall, Americans gave $241 billion to charity in 2003.


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