There are lots of ways to build incoming links.
For a small window of time (about six months until April of this year) sponsoring WordPress themes was a great way to get varied links from lots of different independent websites.
Of course these links wouldn't be going on top PR sites generally (custom themes) and you don't have control of the theme of the site.
On the other hand, you do have control over the anchor text, which is already not bad.
And previously it was quite inexpensive - you would pay about $40 or $50/link on a two sponsored link theme and around $70 to $100 for a single sponsored link theme.
Things have changed - most theme developers are pushing three sponsored links and are trying to get $100 or more per link.
With the inflation and feeding frenzy, a lot more lousy developers have thrown their hats into the ring, so there is an oversaturation of themes.
The developers all talk a good game of how they promote the theme on sites such as:
- http://www.themesbase.com (PR4)
- http://forums.digitalpoint.com (PR7)
- http://www.wpskins.org (PR4)
Unfortunately on all or most of these high PR authority sites, your sponsored link will be nowhere to seen. Just a link to download the theme and some jpegs of the theme.
The developers will also try to shout and scream about 450 downloads, 1037 downloads for past themes. But for link building number of downloads accomplishes nothing for you.
What you are interested in is the number of sites which use the theme and include the sponsored links. For the purposes of sponsored links, a single is much better as the end user is less likely to rip out the links. By the same token it would also be better if the links were discreetly nested and not in electric green (where they are likely to attract the attention of the site owner and his visitors and finally get ripped out). An exception could be made if your site is likely to go viral and has a very wide appeal. In that case, clicks from sponsored links might actually contribute to your business. For my regional websites, we are not looking for random clicks. It will never generate any business for my clients and the more discreet the sponsored links the better.