Any of you remember a few years back, when Microsoft was kicking around the idea of an ad-supported Windows? The concept of putting paid advertisements on the desktop in exchange for making the operating system either free or really cheap, was at the time considered absurd and offensive to many. The general public scoffed at the idea and Microsoft quietly killed it off. Like WebTV, Tablet Computers, and other projects: it was an idea that was struck before the iron was hot enough to bend.
So now we have ads in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo!, Google (including Gmail), on every "news" web site from CNN, to Fox, MSNBC and 99.999999 percent of local TV news organizations as well. They're on our mobile phones and in every sports poster known to every fan around the world. Ads are all around us, and in our faces, so much that we've become effectively unaware of them, as compared to our perception back in 2000. Heck, they even slip ads into RSS feeds now and that was once considered an impossible idea.
So what now?
It's 2011. If Microsoft said "Hey, we'll ship a free version of Windows X that forces ads on the desktop wallpaper background" would you go for it? I sure as hell would.