A plan to bump up the bandwidth bills of spammers seems to be getting out of control. Earlier this week Lycos Europe released a screensaver that bombards spam websites with data to try to increase the cost of running such sites.
But analysis shows that, in some cases, spam websites are being completely overwhelmed by the traffic being directed their way.
Lycos Europe's "Make love not spam" campaign was intended as a way for users to fight back against the avalanche of junk mail messages coming their way.
Participants were encouraged to download the Lycos screensaver which, when their PC was idle, would then send lots of data traffic to websites that peddle the goods and services mentioned in spam messages.
Lycos said the idea was to get the spam sites running at 95% capacity and generate big bandwidth bills for the spammers behind the sites.
The screensaver has reportedly been downloaded more than 90,000 times since it was launched.
But monitoring firm Netcraft has analysed response times for three of the sites the screensaver targets and has found that the campaign is being too successful.
Two of the sites being bombarded by data have been completely knocked offline. One other site has been responding to requests only intermittently as it struggles to cope with the traffic the screensaver is pointing its way.