Although not as popular as before, blogtoplists tend to be a decent way to attract links. I'm sure you've seen them: a blog owner creates an account, adds his site, includes an image link on his blog to count visitors and your site gathers all the data to automatically create a public ranking list. A while back there were talks about image links (alt text within href) not giving much value so I spiced it up by adding a regular text link which most bloggers included on their blog. As a result, I got hundreds of sitewide image and text links to my site. However, I assume the site received a penalty because I got about 800 unique blog posts on the site but only receive 5-10 visitors a day through search engines. I'm tempted to try a similar site in a new niche but obviously don't want to end up with a penalty so I'm wondering if anyone is doing something similar and how you avoid it.