Did "the mother of all search engines" really turn a profit last night? It certainly seems that way. Mamma.com (NASDAQ:MAMA) posted a $0.03-per-share profit for its December quarter, fueled by an 118% top-line spurt.

Several things worked in the company's favor this past quarter. Its emphasis on growing its paid-search advertising and software-licensing revenue paid off, more than offsetting a decline in its graphical ad business.

The company's Copernic desktop-search software got a major credibility boost when it was incorporated into Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) OpenRide software platform for AOL users in the fall.

If you want a cynical spin, you can knock the company for line items that boosted results. The company would have posted an operating loss from continuing operations if it weren't for interest income and foreign exchange gains.

But even the most jaded investor -- and Mamma has a funny way of bringing out the skeptic in all of us -- has to feel that Mamma played the quarter well. The most amazing feat was that general and administrative costs actually shrank for the period, despite revenue that more than doubled to $3.6 million.

Mamma's namesake site is a metasearch engine. It takes a search request and scours other search engines, like IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s (NASDAQ:IACI) Ask.com and New York Times' (NYSE:NYT) About.com, to spit back a cross-section of relevant results.

The company has recently rolled out niche sites like MammaJobs.com, for localized employment ads, and MammaVideos.com, which redirects to the company's video search functionality. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) won't be left quivering with fear, but then again, Mamma is a small company with less than $10 million in annual revenue. Even a mild success could move the needle.

Given the stock's volatile trading history and thin float, one can argue that a mild failure could also move the needle in a more bearish direction. But let's give the cynicism a rest this time. If the company is able to sustain its profitability -- and that's not going to be easy -- it may not be too late for skeptics to change their stripes.

Read on to see what Mamma's got cooking in the kitchen:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves his mamma. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. New York Times is an Income Investor pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.