It seems well established today that trying to rank in a very competitive market without backlinks is next to impossible. That is, even if the website is of quality and useful.
Of course, applying to free, safe and SEO friendly directories will provide some backlinks, but these may not be of the highest quality. They may not even be enough to rank high enough to get the kind exposure that would have the site take off.
I have been reading here and there that abandonned URLs can help, since they often have some backlinks left with relevant anchor text.
Has anybody tried this technique to boost a website's visibility in a very competitive market? Would you recommend it? Any tips or tricks?