Shares of new-media straggler MIVA (NASDAQ:MIVA) opened 35% higher this morning, in response to an unsolicited buyout offer by video-search specialist blinkx (OTC BB: BLNKF.PK). This would normally be cheerworthy -- if blinkx's premium proposal weren't actually an offer to take MIVA out at just $1.20 a share.

Yes, MIVA has fallen that far. And please, MIVA, do us all a favor: Take the money and run. Put us all out of our misery.

Purists may remember MIVA as FindWhat.com, one of the earliest cost-per-click paid-search advertising networks. I singled it out in Stocks 2004, the premium annual publication in which we pick promising stocks for the year ahead. FindWhat easily beat the market, closing out the year in the high teens.

Boy, am I lucky that it didn't make its way into Stocks 2005. Things have really fallen apart at the company since then. MIVA went from being consistently profitable to a dot-com disaster. It hasn't turned a quarterly profit since fall 2005. Acquisitions that seemed so important at the time -- like the purchase of Europe's Espotting, to get in on paid search abroad -- seem irrelevant these days.

Second-tier search engines like MIVA are struggling, as tight-fisted advertisers flock to larger players like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) as "must buy" platforms. Some of MIVA's peers, including LookSmart (NASDAQ:LOOK), are getting by profitably, but MIVA has been a disaster.

It's quite telling that any positive headlines from MIVA's camp lately come from its secondary sites. Whether it's the growing popularity of its edgy Spill.com movie review site, or its A LOT toolbar lapping the 3-million-user mark, MIVA has some interesting moving parts, but it's a dud as a dot-com conglomerate.

Other smaller digital advertising players like New Motion (NASDAQ:NWMO) and ValueClick (NASDAQ:VCLK) are making the most of the sector's turmoil with timely acquisitions, but MIVA's best move at this point is to move on. I'll hold on to my memories of when the company mattered in 2004, but I'm trying to forget nearly everything else.   

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Google, which monetizes many of MIVA's sites through its AdSense program. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.