“The name change comes as a result of the local market’s desire for an English spelling that would be more organic to the Mandarin pronunciation of the word,” said Kristie Lu Stout, a Sohoo spokesperson.
“It also comes as a result of the Web site’s desire to leave the shadow of its former domain name and emphasize a spelling that is distinctly its own,” continued Lu Stout, inferring that Chinese portal now wants to get away from being compared to Yahoo!.
Since Sohoo launched, it has been evident through the grapevine that Yahoo! has been cynical about the similarity between the spellings of its name and that of the Chinese portal, and the atmosphere between the two companies has been tenaciously competitive.
“After the domain name change Sohu has truly become a brand in a class of its own,” said Charles Zhang, CEO of Sohoo. “A brand that is much more tailored to the Chinese community.”
Some sources allege that Sohoo also changed the name because a Korean company is “cyber-squatting” on the www.sohoo.com domain name.
Sohoo has been unable to purchase the sohoo.com domain name after trying for many months.
Interestingly, both Yahoo and Sohoo are the only advertisers on the site, indicating that some of China’s user traffic must be going to the site thinking that its Sohoo’s address.
Currently, Yahoo! China is averaging 1.45 million page views per day and Sohoo (now Sohu) is averaging 700,000 page views per day, according to respective company representatives.