Once you get to the 'hot' section, however, your content quality matters. If the content is good and/or has viral potential, it will attract votes naturally.
I was marketing for a travel site at that time. I learned that rather than paying others to push your content, you can get the same effect by posting at the right time and creating content that would naturally appeal to that subreddit.
I do know some people who've bought established Reddit accounts for $50-200 and use that to get upvotes via proxies.