A French e-commerce company has been accused of sexism after running an online ad campaign stating that access to its website is banned to women.

Netizens reacted furiously at the publicity stunt by Rue du Commerce, which included a restricted-access page "made especially for you, the man."

Launched earlier this week, the "100% testosterone" campaign aimed to boost computer sales, smartphones, videogames, drills, and other items.

People landing on Rue du Commerce's website are greeted by a pop-up window saying that the page is forbidden to female users, as it has been redesigned to better serve a man's needs.

"Ladies, if you decide to go further, you may experience the following symptoms: disorientation, indignation and anger, sorrow and pity, jealousy, flushing," the message reads.

Customers are offered the option to log in as a man or continue to the homepage as a woman. Male users are then targeted with specific promotions.

The online retailer has also created a separate men-only page, accessible with a password circulated on social media.

Inside the page, photos of women in provocative poses are used to advertise men clothing as well as potential gifts for wives and partners, such as jewellery, cooking sets and lingerie.

Men are also supplied with suggestions for ready-made excuses to justify the purchase of videogames - "if you have children say it is for them" - and TV sets - "No, it is not to watch football! Tell your wife that now every night is cinema night".

Online magazine Madmoizelle.com urged its readers to lodge a complaint with France's Advertising Deontology Jury, while many women tweeted their anger at the e-commerce company.

"You've just lost a client," wrote one. "You are sexist," said another.

Many, however, defended the company's good "sense of humour", with Rue du Commerce claiming that 85% of responses were positive and orders from female customers boomed.

A spokeswoman rebuffed accusations of sexism saying that a twin campaign targeting women in a similar fashion was to be launched next.

"It's a caricature," said Sylvie Latour to Le Figaro newspaper. "We wanted [push] women to breach the ban an log to our site anyway."