Move over, utility stocks. Step aside, real estate investment trusts. Dot-com stocks may be the new face of income-producing equities. Sure, that may be stretching things -- TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM) initiated a dividend policy this morning, but it's not as though larger online entities will follow.

Starting next month, TheStreet.com investors will be on the receiving end of quarterly dividends to the tune of $0.025 per share. The company is good for it. It generated $5.8 million in income from continuing operations last year, and it will take less than half of that to cover this year's distributions. It also happens to have $33.2 million in cash on its balance sheet.

The stock's new yield of 1.4% may not seem like much, but it will help the stock stand out in a crowd of money-hoarding Internet companies. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) are flush with cash but aren't about to part with it anytime soon. AOL parent Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) began paying a quarterly dividend this past summer, but it gets pretty skimpy after that. United Online (NASDAQ:UNTD) is a rare exception -- the company behind Juno and NetZero now yields a hefty 6.5%.

So why are most Internet companies refusing to follow suit by opening up their purse strings? It's probably because the industry is still ripe for consolidation. In these days of buoyant share prices, stock has been the legal tender of choice, but things can change in a hurry. If the sector falls out of favor, that would make stock deals less desirable at the ideal time to buy when the prices are low.

This doesn't mean that TheStreet.com should hold on to its considerable cash reserves. A year ago, the company was exploring "strategic alternatives," and after a strong 2005, it's ready to make it on its own. The dividend pretty much cements the company's intention to remain as a stand-alone entity. I doubt it will make the stock pop up on Mathew Emmert's radar for his Income Investor newsletter, but the payouts will give growth stock investors a little pocket change reward for taking a chance on the company.

So enjoy the dividend. Yes, folks, Jim Cramer's company really does give a dime. It's just doing so in quarterly installments.

Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz won't be making a bid on TheStreet.com, although he did enjoy reading Cramer's Confessions of a Street Addict book. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out tomorrow's great growth stocks today.