I imagine that I wasn't the only one kicking myself for not buying into ValueClick (NASDAQ:VCLK) when Matt Richey recommended it two years ago. Trading at a discount to its Net Net Working Capital, at the time it provided the refreshing paradox of buying into a risky entity with little risk.

Online advertising bounced back and with it zoomed the shares of a company that the market had once pegged as being worth less than worthless. As a five-bagger at its peak, earlier this year the company was profitable and using its enviable cash reserves to scoop up rivals on the cheap.

So maybe I'm not entirely disappointed to see the stock take a 25% hit in trading today -- down to roughly $7.28 -- after posting its second-quarter results. Granted, my heart goes out to those presently owning the company, but perhaps this is the prodigal stock coming back to be reclaimed by those who missed it the first time around.

The market's spooked by the company's soft outlook going into the third quarter, but I still see a solid company. Despite all of its acquisitions, including my favorite of the lot in affiliate program provider Commission Junction, the greenery hasn't been diluted much. The company sports nearly $3 a share in cash. The company is still on track to earn between $0.26 and $0.29 a share this year. Back out the cash balance from the company's falling share price, and you're left with an earnings multiple in the teens based on the ValueClick's enterprise value.

This past quarter saw profits more than triple as revenues soared by 72%. Yes, the acquisitions have helped, but there's a lot of synergy and organic goodness at play here, as diluted shares have grown by less than 10% over the past year despite the buying spree.

It's the text-based ad specialists such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Ask Jeeves (NASDAQ:ASKJ), and FindWhat.com (NASDAQ:FWHT) that are putting up monster results relative to the old-school banner ad players such as ValueClick and DoubleClick (NASDAQ:DCLK). And it's a market that will continue to soar as usage grows and sponsors become more familiar with the charms of the Web's ability to target an ideal audience.

In other words, ValueClick is once again living up to its name.

What is the most effective way to advertise online? Is it affordable? How does one start? All this and more in the Webmaster's Corner discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz will have to wait if he wants to hop back on the ValueClick buying bandwagon. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.