Web portals have come full circle. From the frothiest frenzy of the dot-com bubble to the apathetic rubble the sector's collapse left behind, search engines have been there. Now, they are rolling back into investing fancy.

In most cases, they've earned it. Mamma.com (NASDAQ:MAMA), for example, posted a fourth-quarter profit yesterday as revenues more than doubled. Sure, it was just your token penny a share, back out the losses from the Intasys Billing Technologies subsidiaries sold last month, and Mamma earned $0.12.

Unfortunately, the company that bills its site as "The Mother of All Search Engines" also produced the mother of all shareholder dilution. Due primarily to the fact of 2 million warrants and just over 400,000 options, all boasting penny-stock strike prices, the company's diluted shares outstanding fattened up from 5.9 million to 8.8 million over the past year. Hopefully, now that the company is nearing fiscal credibility, it won't sacrifice such large chunks of dilution to future financing deals.

Investors focused on the business and bid the stock up after yesterday's close, and with reason. The stock trades at less than four times trailing revenues. Moreover, using a run rate based on last quarter's earnings from its flagship operations, the stock trades at a single-digit P/E. It's easy to love your Mamma.

Search is hot. With or without a Google IPO, specialists like AskJeeves.com (NASDAQ:ASKJ) and Stocks 2004 recommendation FindWhat.com (NASDAQ:FWHT) have thrived in the market. Even bellwether Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) has more than doubled over the past year.

Given the lack of Wall Street coverage and the company's failure to provide bottom-line guidance, the risks and rewards loom large with Mamma. Something tells me that she likes it that way.

Do you depend on search engines to find what you want? Do you rely on those same portals to advertise? How effective are sponsored text ad links? Mamma.com features them, but do you find them useful? All this and more -- in the Webmaster's Corner discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that if he ever got lost he would consult Google before consulting a compass. He does not own any shares mentioned in this story.