I'm not sure, but....
....today I saw a tweet from a fellow author friend saying, Authors! Join me on such and such a site, register on (insert name here) database. Promote your book! This site also regularly runs competitions, for 'best cover', etc, though all the people who vote appear to be other writers.
I quite often see such tweets. I got to wondering, as they say. What is the point of these databases? Does anyone ever look at them? I bet they don't, but I'm asking because I'd like to know, and am happy to be proved wrong.
I wondered, then, if they're like Facebook, which is, I believe, just a huge vehicle for data mining and stealth marketing. Do these author databases just exist to get all the contact details of hundreds of indie authors together in one place, so that they can be targeted for the sale of services such as book marketing, editing, cover illustration, etc?
Or is that just me being cynical?