Investors in the feast-or-famine Chinese Internet space went hungry Friday after Sohu.com ( SOHU - Get Report) ladled out disappointing guidance for the fourth quarter.

The Beijing company earned $8.3 million, or 27 cents a share, in the third quarter, slightly below estimates but up sharply from $2.7 million, or 7 cents a share, last year. Revenue rose 17% to $25.9 million.

In the fourth quarter, Sohu sees earnings between 17 cents and 19 cents a share, below estimates of roughly 22 cents a share. Revenue will also decline sequentially.

China's Internet stocks were huge gainers in 2003, in many cases rising by percentages in the four digits. They have been hurt this year by a crackdown on pornography by the Beijing government and wireless provider China Mobile. The space got a boost earlier in the week when Sina ( SINA - Get Report) posted solid third-quarter earnings and predicted in-line results in the fourth quarter, but some of that gain was being given up Friday morning.

On Instinet, Sohu.com was recently down $3.63, or 18.7%, to $15.75, while Sina dropped $1.21, or 3.6%, $32.50; NetEase ( NTES - Get Report) lost $1.09, or 2.4%, to $44.97; and Chinadotcom lost 9 cents, or 1.9%, to $4.63.

Another big Chinese stock, TOM Online said on Thursday that it would delay the release of its third-quarter earnings report to Nov. 10 so it can finish compiling results from a recent acquisition.