Yesterday was International Women's Day. But here in the U.S., it don't matter how hard members of the fairer sex work -- they still don't get paid as much as the men of the old boys' club that is the business world. So it is with metasearch engine Mamma.com (NASDAQ:MAMA), whose stock has fallen 25% over the past year. Tomorrow, when Mamma.com reports Q4 and full-year 2005 earnings, I expect we'll see more of the same.

Wall Street Wisdom:

  • General consensus. Just one analyst follows Mamma.com, and that analyst rates the stock a hold.
  • Revenues. That hold rating may be a bit generous. The analyst predicts that Mamma.com will report a 35% drop in revenues tomorrow, to just $2.5 million.
  • Earnings. Meanwhile, last year's $0.01 profit is expected to become this year's $0.05 loss.

Margin watch:
Egads. Mamma.com doesn't "have her face on" this morning. The numbers revealed in the below chart are positively scary. The trend, from sizably positive margins to losses, more losses, and ever more losses, is scarier still.

Margins %

6/04

9/04

12/04

3/05

6/05

9/05

Gross

98.4

98.4

98.0

97.8

97.5

97.1

Op.

12.0

13.7

7.8

(7.1)

(6.5)

(10.7)

Net

13.9

13.5

7.0

(7.9)

(28.0)

(44.9)

All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ending in the named months.

Foolish forensics:
As recently as 18 months ago, this was one hot Mamma.com, but she's not aging well at all. In the past two quarters alone, revenues have dropped 31% against the year-ago period. Meanwhile, the cost of those revenues kept on rising, as did R&D expenditures. Even the company's 13% reduction in selling, general, and administrative expenses hasn't been enough to keep Mamma.com in a designer black dress. She's been wearing off-the-rack red for three quarters running now.

Competitors:
With high-quality competitors like Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) waiting in the wings, and Mamma.com on a clear downward slope, what's a Fool to do?

Answer: Throw Mamma.com from the train.

(Don't groan. You saw that coming five paragraphs ago.)

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.