updated 5/18/2006 8:44:53 PM ET 2006-05-19T00:44:53

Score one for the spammers. The company behind a controversial anti-spam initiative is shutting down the service after spammers began threatening users and rendering the company's site inaccessible.

In a statement, Blue Security Inc. said it wanted to avoid "an ever-escalating cyber war through our continued operations."

Blue Security has been criticized by some anti-spam advocates because its Blue Frog service revolves around getting thousands of users to collectively disable the Web sites that spammers use to sell their wares.

Users add e-mail addresses to Blue Frog's "do-not-spam" list. Before sending out a batch of messages, spammers are supposed to remove any addresses appearing on such lists.

If they don't, Blue Security activates software on users' computers to send complaints to spammers automatically. Hundreds of thousands complaining at once can knock out a Web site and, the company says, encourage spammers to stop.

But critics say the tactic resembles a denial-of-service attack, the type spammers used against Blue Security in retaliation.

Eran Reshef, Blue Security's chief executive, refused interview requests Wednesday.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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