You can do this, just contact the site owners, setup business relationships, then pay them. Some might give it to you for free (for exposure), some might want a split of revenue (50/50 is pretty typical on ads), and some might want a crazy high license fee. At the end of the day you might wind up with an actual business rather than just a little side project that helped you find your next place.
Netflix is great when you want to watch old content. Hulu is OK for newer content. Both suck when it comes to more specialized content, Comedy Central, SiFi, HGTV, Sports etc. If MS can crack that nut then they might have a chance. Currently I'm considering switching from OSX / EyeTV to Windows 7 Media Center because when it comes to shuttling encrypted content (ie cable card) around the house MS is the only game in town.
Web bugs in emails are nothing new. For as long as there has been HTML email there have been web bugs. Every image you load could be considered a web bug because it's creating a log entry somewhere. The bugs don't need to be 1x1 transparent gifs though many tend to be just out of convenience. Almost all links now a days (and for a long time) run through some sort of click tracking tool as well, just like every search engine as well.
I can certainly appreciate Google's stance on the subject. I've been saying for years its reprehensible how Facebook acts as a one way silo for personal information. They've gotten a bit better about it but only after getting raked over the preverbal coals for months and months.
Frankly I don't trust Facebook as far as I can throw them which at their current size is close to nothing. Facebook has demonstrated time and time again that their focus is not on protecting users and providing value to the web. In fact quite the opposite, to move towards a AOLy version of the web where Facebook is the web. They're only as "open" as much as it benefits them, ie reduced PR exposure or added page views or users.
However, this comparison is not an apples to apples. It is my understanding (and I could be wrong or things could have changed as they do on almost a daily basis at Facebook) that when you "import" friends from Google (or any other service) that Facebook is simply providing a matching service and only adding friends if they exist on Facebook. They are not acting as a contact list provider in the sense that I can not import my dogs website nor change my friends phone number if I like to use his home number instead of his cell number for his main number etc.
Although it could be agreed that with all your friends on Facebook they are by default playing the roll of contact list and are not being fairly bi-directional. Facebook wants you messaging your friends within the confines of the system (more page views, more lock in, more details they can scrape about you) and is the main reason why they don't want you exporting your contacts.