Web 2.0, making money and social immune systems
I suspect you have this all wrong. I'm a marketing fellow, albeit less conventional than most, and I know something about the subject.
First, Web 2.0: people are making money out of Web 2.0 and social websites, but it's much less obvious than the examples you're seeking, perhaps. There are reasons I think most of their business models suck the big one, but that's another story.
The reason most advertising on social network sites (probably) flops has nothing to do with the sites or the concept and everything to do with the fuckwits in charge of running the ads. Look in your local Yellow Pages and you'll see literally thousands of flopping ads (because they all look the same and talk in terms of services rather than what it does for the buyer).
A counter-example: the Snorg-Tee ads on FaceBook. Exceptionally well targeted and, I suspect, very effective.
Advertising and marketing as a virus. Maybe. Like Dawkins's memes, perhaps. But advertising and marketing is much maligned and usually by people who really don't know what they're talking about.
The substance of marketing is the same everywhere: emotional connection. Science has pretty much proven what we marketers have known empirically for a long time: we decide emotionally and justify after the fact with logic. It works the same in all industries.
People aren't so much resistant to the form of marketing as they are unseeing of the message because a winning formula is mercilessly copied and done to death. Do your research and you'll see the marketing doing best is nothing more than recycled strategies and techniques from 1937 or so. There IS nothing new, not really, and there are reasons for that.
Please don't pretend your IT businesses are any different, because they're not. To stroke the emotions of an IT geek is an easier job than you might think (I was one once). You might laugh and pretend superiority over Paris and her, um, "high society" foibles, but the same emotions are at work in YOU when you get all hard and sweaty over the 500TB drive with automatic scrotal-massage you can slip into your pocket.
Same emotions... different triggers is all.
The reason it's all the same is the emotional connection, and that's buried in the limbic system and we share it with all the mammals.
You can believe me or not, but I actually study this stuff (because it's my business) rather than assume a position of snobbish superiority.