I have this conversation with clients all the time. Both sides have merits and I think it comes down to the business model of the client and the amount of knowledge they have. The best client will just give you the cash and say, “you do that voodoo that you do so well,” but very few actually say and even less sing it in key.
There is something I call, Positive Domain Name Context. If you have a blog and call it Death Star Pizza and stick a blog post about space ships, it makes it more likely that you will get links. You tap into a niche where you clients and the clients competitors will not normally be able to get links. The site then only links to the sites the client wants to link to.
Also, there are a few other things that you can do with a Microsite like this which gets good quality links. But, I’m going to leave that for another time.
Linkbait has definitely evolved and there are quite a few creative ways we can use content that gets links. A client I was chatting too last week was amazed how his site for Ironing Board covers jumped in the SERPS from a link from a an authority site on cat snacks. (Niches have been changed to protect the innocent) You hear a lot about you gotta get links from sites from in your niche to rank for your keyword. No you don’t.
Time and time again I see sites ranked with links from all sorts of niches, as long as those sites are linked to and are seasoned over time it doesn’t matter.