i think this was the main difference between the two; links are the skeletal structure of the web; that's like speaking @ conferences and not leaving your business card, a site, or any point of contact for a call back. i think you would have to justify the use of 'actual business methods,' by adding link building efforts, some or all of which you included for site 1, even if you don't try to micro-manage the anchor text.
for one blog development should include the following:
- guest posts
- social media participation
- content rich comments linking back to your blog
- blog outreach, augmenting and responding to other blogger posts in your vertical.
essentially, i know the point you are driving for the 'content is king' purists. and thank you for sharing your findings.