When your company reports earnings on a Friday night, that's bad. When your company reports earnings on a Friday night before an extended holiday weekend, well, that's really bad.

And that's what Mamma.com (NASDAQ:MAMA) did. It waited until after Friday's market close -- giving itself three marketless days to help investors forget -- to release its unimpressive results for the quarter ending in March.

It's better to read these numbers with a clothespin pinching your nose. Revenues fell by 24% to hit $3.2 million. Compared with last year's first-quarter showing, which got a boost from a one-time gain on an asset sale that led Mamma to a healthy showing of $0.17 a share, this time it lost $0.07 a share.

A significant pullback in spending from its largest advertiser led to the top-line tumble. The path to the bottom line was burdened by fees related to a Securities and Exchange Commission probe over stock manipulation, a botched buyout, and a rushed audit after its original auditor ditched the mess at Mamma.

Those overhead items are ugly, but they are, in fact, one-time items. Absent those expenses, the company would have actually produced a profit. Why does that matter? Well, with $2.24 a share in cash and investments, the stock isn't trading for much more than its balance-sheet greenery. On the other hand, the stock has dipped into the penny-stock camp, and shareholders are smarting, after seeing this stock peak at $16 just 13 months ago.

Sure, paid search is a gravy train, but you can easily get derailed if you're riding companies other than Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), and Infospace (NASDAQ:INSP).

I have long wondered why CNET (NASDAQ:CNET) has been so slow to cash in on its perfect Search.com domain, but I'm starting to respect the company's more calculated approach. Even in paid search, you have to execute appropriately if you want to win big.

As for Mamma, the first-quarter report came on the heels of producing delayed fourth-quarter financials. That quarter, too, proved to be a dud, but there is asset-backed support here if the company does return to profitability. That news may not inspire you to open a site called Mammas I'd Like to Finance, but at least there's hope that stability may return to this awfully rocky stock.

Some more stories that Mamma used to tell:

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