Shareholders in iPass (NASDAQ:IPAS), I feel your pain. A stock that's been brutalized over the past few months, insiders keeping mum about certain key developments, selling their own shares, and then dropping a bit of a bomb in the most recent earnings report -- why does this sound so darn familiar?

The stock was hammered 15% today during a good time for most techs, but let's not dwell on the anger. To the bright side of the page! Revenues were up 20% to $42 million. Earnings were up only 14% to $0.08 per share. (Is it just me, or do growth companies stop calculating percentages when the growth doesn't look so great?)

What seems to have spooked investors was that the mobility-networking service provider has actually lost users over the past few months. The tally dropped from 528,000 in June to 526,000 in the third quarter. Ouch; that's enough to take the "grow" out of growth. And unfortunately, it looks like the firm sees more of a slowdown coming up. Management guidance was for slimmer, 15% year-over-year revenue growth in the next quarter. The prediction for $0.06 per share at the bottom line would only equal last year's take. Double ouch.

Among the only other positives are net margins, which climbed above 12% for the first time since Q4 of last year. Bottom line, don't confuse tech with tech. While Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Sina (NASDAQ:SINA), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), and others are flying these days, the Street is not being kind to everything tech. Check out Silicon Laboratories (NASDAQ:SLAB) and SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) to see the punishment in store for firms that betray even reduced expectations.

As a peek at this long-term chart shows, iPass has given nothing but pain to most investors. At 22 times trailing earnings, it may look cheap today, but take another look at that chart. It looked cheap the whole way down. The earnings graph needs to nose up before investors stop passing this one by.

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Seth Jayson is stuffing money in his mattress these days. At the time of publication, he owned shares of SanDisk but had no position in any other company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.