What they asked me was: "When launching a new website and/or brand, does buying a small amount of article submissions and backlinks help?"
In talking further, the client understood that purchasing links and submitting articles is not a highly favored method of SEO anymore, but they also thought that since they were starting from scratch (ZERO links ZERO articles), that using a small amount of those services would still help.
They quoted some service on Fiverr, which promised 50 backlinks among other things. I personally do not think that they would be penalized from such a strategy as long as it made it no further than a few initial links and articles. Even if they were form mediocre PR5 sites they would probably still increase ranking and traffic.
Any experts weigh in?