From personal experiences, I will say I have succeeded in building some good relationship with some of the people in my list. But I will say am not making sales to commensurate my efforts in building the relationship. Like you observed, I feel good been in the mailing list of some of the internet experts. But the truth is that at times I got fed up since I don't have the time to go through most of their mailss.
What I am enjoying presently now is building my list and socializing in Facebooks and Twitter. As I am enjoying those on my lists too likes it, since it's work and fun. The most important thing is to focus on educating people on your list not selling directly. At the same time you are conscious that you are there for business. When the time is ripe for them they will buy from you. They already see you as a friend.