I've been 'online' creating code/content since the mid 90's and have seen a lot in my time but nothing like this. It was a breath of fresh air.
I received an email from a marketing company looking to promote their clients site, a site which is related in subject to mine. The email didn't hit my spam filter and so I opened it thinking it was probably spam.
Cordial, straight to the point and offering instead of asking is what I found.
The company inquired about my advertising rates and if I am open to guest articles and given the positive overall impression I got from the email I responded without making any promises. I rarely respond since it's all too easy to look someone up and find the dirt first. I simply said I would accept a guest post if it was something my readers would enjoy. Money was never mentioned.
I thought I likely wouldn't hear back, not all companies value follow-through, and if I did I expected something of low quality. 3 days later I got another email, with an extremely well written and original article about the clients involvement in our industry. The marketing company had taken time to research my site and my readers and it wasn't a cookie cutter article in any way. Someone sat down and spent a couple of hours on this and also took care to use proper grammar, markup, etc and they even included a few pictures for me to choose from.
Needless to say the article was published. I see so many people saying 'write articles for article directories' these days yet with a little more effort your work could end up on related higher caliber sites. This relatively unknown and small company earned something more than money in the process, they earned my respect and quite possibly a future customer. I got rocked, in a good way!
The future of link building - offer, don't ask, and surpass expectations. It works.