United Online (Nasdaq: UNTD) is one hoppin' dot-com.

The ISP -- which operates the NetZero, Juno, and BlueLight Internet services -- reported a strong second quarter today, and raised guidance for next quarter. Here are some of the numbers, compared to the same period last year:

  • Revenue rose 37%.
  • EPS went from a $0.41 loss to an $0.11 profit.
  • Free cash flow swung from a loss of $9.9 million to a gain of $19.2 million.
  • Paying subscribers increased by 37% through natural growth; the acquisition of BlueLight added another 174,000; the total now stands at 2.2 million.

Why is United doing so well selling dialup Internet access, when giants such as AOL(NYSE: AOL), MSN(Nasdaq: MSFT), and EarthLink(Nasdaq: ELNK) are struggling? One word: price. United charges $9.95 a month, while AOL, for example, charges $23.90.

"These results reinforce our belief that value-priced services will continue to gain share in the Internet access market," said CEO Mark Goldston.

United's ability to keep the dot-com dream alive and, more importantly, its recent profitability, has boosted the stock an amazing 250% over the past year to $15 a share. The going will be tougher from here on out, though. The company will face increased competition as larger services offer lower fees, and its growth rate and margins will feel the pressure.

Still, it's worth a look, especially for those with a firm understanding of the industry's dynamics.