I don't understand the question too well......
Listen, I know that this is true - if you write well enough, and put together an attractive web page either here....or somewhere else...and do that with some sort of consistency....you don't have to do ANY promotion.
Promotion? Oh hell, there's nothing wrong with a little sharing on your social networks, and most likely....a modicum of bookmarking does some good so far as your indexing is concerned.
It's really very simple...if you pay money for links, or join and use sites that are "traffic exchange sites" - then you clearly aren't very good at creating good content.....or you are just greedy....and will suffer the consequences.