Sohu CEO Discusses Search Engine (SOHU)

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From Sohu's (NASDAQ:SOHU) Q1 2006 earnings conference call:

Charles Zhang, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Now let me talk about sponsored search. In sponsored search, the 1% sequential growth and 26% year-over-year growth was driven by continued improvements to the Sogou search product itself, and a more concentrated effort in marketing and promoting the Sogou brand. We have followed the successful launch of Sogou v. 2.5 in November 2005 with an additional product and a feature enhancement. We launched a new feature search capability in February 2006, and added an improved seamless map search function in 2006, both of which will further enhance the overall search experience.

In addition, our innovative Sogou marketing campaign such as Sogou Super Girl contest, and our national photo dog search continues to generate buzz throughout China. Those events are cost effective and creating marketing initiatives to promote the Sogou brand in the most meaningful way to reach the mass Chinese online population. We strive to make Sogou the search engine of choice. Customer tailored, key to the needs of the Chinese community.

I think Sogou is among the fastest-growing search engines in traffic market share, of all of the search engines in China. I don’t believe any other search engine can grow quarter on quarter 60% in terms of page view traffic.

To achieve that, it is basically a maturing of the Sogou v2.5 that we launched last November. A lot of rough edges, trying to smooth it out and making it more user friendly and more powerful. Now we already have 2.5 billion pages achieved and we indexed 800 million pages. The user experiences are improving gradually, every week, by the week.

We are still in the pre-monetization of Sogou. Driving traffic and developing the product technology is the focus of 2006.

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