I read Hugh Macleod's book, "Ignore Everybody" a couple weeks ago and one concept that flew off the page was using social media to allow companies to have intelligent conversations with their customers. EB is doing this in a rather tangential way, but still in the same vein I think. BPL does that in a very intensive way via these forums, which are just another form of social media.
Hugh Macleod is a very interesting character. He's an adman who had a habit of doodling on the back of his business cards which he has grown into a business in itself. http://gapingvoid.com/