What will it take to get United Online (NASDAQ:UNTD) noticed? Solid quarterly reports and ambitious share buybacks haven't done the trick. That's why the company is now turning to its cash coffers, stuffed with $203 million in greenery, and its healthy levels of free cash flow to subsidize a new dividend policy.

By introducing a quarterly $0.20 per share cash distribution, United Online's yield has gone from nil to a whopping 9% overnight based on yesterday's share price. If that's the kind of move that will merit a second glance from a jaded market, so be it. Wall Street might like what it sees.

Even as Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) America Online service struggles to win back subscribers, United Online has grown well with its NetZero and Juno properties. Over the past year the number of paying accounts has risen from 3.1 million to nearly 5 million. The company also runs the popular Classmates.com site that specializes in getting its members in contact with old school buddies. Earlier this year the company acquired photo-sharing site PhotoSite.com. With Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and CNET (NASDAQ:CNET) all making additional photo-sharing acquisitions after United Online's purchase, at least it's keeping some good company in its acquisitive pursuits.

OK, so United Online is generous, brainy and has a decent personality. What's the catch? Ugly income statements? Not exactly. Earnings came in at $0.18 a share for the March quarter -- flat with last year's showing -- on a 21% uptick in revenues. Online advertising is growing even faster at the company, so it's not exactly the kind of stock that you would be embarrassed to be seen in public with.

Take a closer look, and you will begin to see the flaws: a rise in stock-based compensation expenses and a lack of earnings growth, for starters. However, at least with that 9% yield, waiting for something to happen is no longer a complete waste of time.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been online since the early days of GEnie and CompuServe -- long before AOL or Prodigy came around. What a nerd! The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early