When BzzAgent was formed, the industry (and by implicit consent, consumers) agreed it was okay for a company to provide brand "evangelists" with promotional material if those people were forthcoming about what they were doing.
But Facebook's Beacon (now with reduced wattage!) was a tentative step in a new direction: can we air the purchasing activities of passive consumers and still call it word of mouth? (Or do we have to give it a new name -- "social advertising"?)
We can ask similar questions about the ongoing writers strike. What happens to proprietary work when it is repurposed for the internet? More importantly, how should creative minds be compensated when concerns loom that the internet may one day replace television and DVD sales?
Some say we should wait until it happens. Writers clearly feel this is an issue that must be addressed now.
Faced with a similar conundrum, the marketing and advertising communities, however, did wait until it happened. When eyeballs wandered away from television and print, old-school ad agencies floundered to keep in step without missing a beat, or a dollar.
In the new school of technology, content is repeatedly repurposed for use across multiple forms of media. As a result, audiences have become more critical of what we give them.
The results of the struggle to renegotiate ad space are promising, like some viral or pre-roll ad efforts, but occasionally dubious, such as the PayPerPost business model or "Free iPod!" lead generation tactics.
2008 yawns before us. What's next in the content platform shuffle?
It remains at your discretion.