Every once in awhile someone or something really gets something right in the high-tech world, and when they do, you gotta give 'em props.

To that end, here's a big "Way to go Federal Trade Commission" from yours truly. The National Do Not Call Registry is a smashing success, and it's no surprise either.

For years, telemarketers have invaded our homes, businesses and organizations, calling out of the blue, butchering pronunciations of last names, interrupting meal and private times, and in the worst cases, swindling unsuspecting individuals out of life savings.

Now citizens throughout the United States have an easy and simple way to fight back by entering their phone numbers into the FTC's official Do Not Call Registry.

And when I say easy and simple, I mean easy and simple.

In about three minutes I was able to register both my personal cell phone number and my main office number online and verify that both numbers were now on the list. (I went ahead and registered by office number even though the Do Not Call Registry rules do not officially apply to business phone numbers figuring it wouldn't hurt.)

Interest in the Do Not Call Registry has been positive with everyone I've spoken with so far.

"I feel for the (telemarketing) industry, but it's such an invasion on my free time," said Tina Ballenger, legal secretary at Stoel Rives in Salt Lake City. "I like the choice of being able to throw something in the garbage if it's sent through the mail."

"I think it's going to be very hard on businesses, but I like it as a consumer," said Julie Theriault, relationship manager with the Draper office of KeyBank. "I don't like getting the calls at home, but I think it depends on the type of business you're in. I think it's going to be very interesting to see how they enforce this."

The easiest way to get off the telemarketers lists is to go online to www.donotcall.gov.

Once there, click your mouse on the big "CLICK HERE TO REGISTER" link at the top of the Web page and in a few minutes you too can have the peace of mind that those annoying telemarketing calls are going to go way down but not until October 1.

That's when the FTC will begin enforcing the new rules, which carry with them a fine of up to $11,000 per call made to a phone number on the Do Not Call Registry.

Not everyone will be precluded from calling you, however, if you post a number with the Do Not Call Registry.

One obvious exception is for companies you already have a relationship with, such as a retailer or a service provider.

So if you've been buying stuff from Lands End or if your long-distance provider is AT&T, don't be surprised if they still call you from time to time.

One of the other things the new rules specifically prohibit is calling outside the period of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., so no more babies being woken up by late night calls or beauty sleep bring interrupted.

If you do register your numbers, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from the FTC that you must open and reply to through the link at the top of the e-mail. Failure to do this within 72 hours will invalidate your registration.

For those readers still not in the information superhighway age, it is also possible to call in to register a specific phone number at 888-382-1222.

So if you haven't done so already, jump online or call the toll-free number and add your number(s) to the list of more than 15 million already registered with the FTC at the Do Not Call Registry.


David Politis leads Politis Communications, a public relations, investor relations and marketing communications agency serving the high-tech and biotech markets.

E-mail: dpolitis@politis.com.