I am in a shared hosting environment on a 1and1 server. I am trying to rewrite www.mydomain.com/products/de.htm -> index.php?action=viewproduct&id=de

The problem is not with the script. When I upload the bellow .htaccess file and trigger the URL rewrite it fails and i get a 404. If i remove the s from "products" it works, or if I edit the word products in any way it works. As soon as the rewrite rul reads ^products/([0-9a-z]+)\.htm$ it fails.

If I create the products folder and upload the bellow .htaccess file it works just fine. When i remove the folder same issue it spits out an error.

Bellow is my .htaccess
Code:
Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^products/([0-9a-z]+)\.htm$ /index.php?action=viewproduct&id=$1
RewriteRule ^categories/([0-9a-z]+)\.htm$ /index.php?action=view&cate=$1
To the best of my knowledge any other word in the english language triggers the URL rewrite with the exception of the word "products"

For now I have just left the "products" folder in my web space but I would like to know what causes the problem.

Thank you
Nick