In Hollywood, a name change can be critical. Hey, John Wayne's birth name was actually Marion Morrison. Somehow, without the change, movies such as True Grit, Rio Lobo, and Stagecoach would not have been the same.

A name change can also be important for companies, especially when they experience difficulties. WorldCom has become MCI, for example.

And, recently, we saw change its name to MIVA (NASDAQ:MIVA), which was the name of one of the many companies it had purchased over the last few years.

But it appears MIVA is doing more than changing its name. After a run of turmoil -- including accounting problems, a chief financial officer who bolted, an auditor leaving, and a falling stock price -- the Internet advertising company is engaging in a serious restructuring.

In fact, Monday the stock was up nicely, increasing 6.51% to $6.05. That is, the company announced it settled a patent infringement suit with Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO). The dispute was over Yahoo!'s Overture technology, which it claimed MIVA had misappropriated. This technology allows advertisers to place advertisements on search listings -- no doubt a huge business. MIVA agreed to pay $8 million and reached a non-exclusive license agreement with Yahoo!

MIVA also announced its earnings. In the second quarter, revenues increased by 76% to $48.8 million, though the company posted a net loss of $4.08 per diluted share and took a whopping $119 million in non-cash charges for impairment (from acquisitions) and patent litigation.

The company generated $4.9 million in cash flow from operations in the second quarter; in all, it has $50 million in the bank.

MIVA posted large amounts of operating costs in the second quarter, from things such as rebranding, investing in algorithmic search technologies, patent litigation, and audit fees for Sarbanes-Oxley. Though many companies already have algorithms of similar sorts, this may well prove to be to the company's advantage. Rebranding efforts are commonly less effective; they're generally the work of companies lacking well-developed brands in the first place. According to MIVA's estimates, such costs will moderate over the next six months.

For 2005, MIVA expects revenues of $185 million to $200 million, which was up from the guidance of $175 million to $200 million.

No doubt, MIVA has built a solid product offering for online advertising. There is the MIVA ad network, which allows companies to advertise on a pay-per-click and even a pay-per-call basis. What's more, the company gives search portals and directories the ability to offer customers its own services under their brand name. MIVA also provides hosting and e-commerce services to companies.

Again, the problem -- as with many other mid-level players like Interchange (NASDAQ:INCX) and (NASDAQ:MAMA) -- is that MIVA is a small player in a highly competitive market for online advertising. Thus, selling out may be the viable alternative. The problem is that buyers understand the predicament of the smaller players and likely would not pay a big premium, as we saw with ValueClick's (NASDAQ:VCLK) recent acquisition of Fastclick (NASDAQ:FSTC). In other words, for investors, MIVA is still a stock to stay away from.

Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own the shares mentioned in this article.