Firstly, automated in the spam-like sense = IMO, no-no. From doing this (SEO, obviously ) over the last eight years, I've found the vast majority of automated approaches to be either 1. short lived or 2. downright pointless. In 2013, it's simply not the optimal way to approach link building if you want to achieve decent, sustainable results i.e. try actual content generation, guest posting on decent quality websites and using genuine guest posting options if you're struggling to find the opportunities (which you shouldn't be, just takes a few advanced search operators).
Try MyBlogGuest.com, or something else of the sort, to build at least a base of decent, independent links from relatively authoritative domains. Better yet, read up on all the information available here about building a PBN.
Second point, and the point that everyone creating these threads seems to be missing - OFFLINE. How many of you know people who own websites, who supply you with services etc? There are thousands of strategies, however here are two ideas:
1. Submit testimonials to a supplier - everyone loves receiving a compliment. Get a backlink e.g. see here: http://www.aweber.com/testimonials.htm. Struggling to find testimonial pages? ""[keyword]" inurl:testimonials" etc - in some instances I have even bought a product or service just to be granted the opportunity to post a testimonial. Get in touch with your suppliers, now.
2. CALL people or go to networking events, exchange a bit of a service i.e. here's a free keyword research document, thought you would like it - get a link in return. Or just call them and offer them some free content for their blog - if they aren't in any way SEO-savvy, they will think YOU are doing them a favour.
There are hundreds of ways to build links online but there are thousands of ways to leverage you existing contacts and build links offline - you just need to think a little outside of the box. Build up your contact list and things will be a LOT easier.