A software mistake has allowed hundreds of domain names to be incorrectly listed, allowing the creation of addresses which are nearly identical to established Web sites.
Because the software failed to disqualify addresses which include trailing dashes, third-party companies that register names were allowed to create addresses such as "www.abc-.com," "www.Boston-.com" and "www.microsoft-.com."
According to Network Solutions Inc., which lists the domain names submitted by registrars, 845 names have been improperly listed with hyphens.
Don Telage, spokesman for Network Solutions , said the registry doesn't permit addresses to be listed with trailing dashes because some protocols, such as FTP (file transfer protocol) don't recognize those trailing dashes.
He said five registrars didn't properly implement filtering software that rejects incorrect domain names. The company discovered the problem New Year's Eve but waited to take corrective action until after the Y2K turnover.
According to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), registrars have the right to revoke any addresses that don't comply with its standards, said Mike Roberts, the group's president. ICANN is a nonprofit group that oversees Internet domain name registration.
Telage said any further action regarding the illegal names will be taken by the five registrars. He declined to name those registrars.