I really enjoy GoodReads, the site that lets you keep track of what you've read and see what your friends are reading. (Emphasis on friends.)
But the other day I got an alert in my email inbox that "someone" had recommended a book for me. The someone? A fairly famous author who wanted me to know about her new book, since I'd liked her previous book. The PR team must have automatically emailed everyone who gave the book more than 1 star.
I guess it was inevitable that GoodReads would go the MySpace/Facebook/Gmail/Everything Else route and start spamming me with ads, but I was still disappointed. I love getting recommendations from people I actually know, but I don't want to be inundated by spam bots who search the database for strangers and send them alerts, especially when the alerts used to be legitimate and represent genuine communication.
I know authors need to use every method they can to market themselves and get the word out about their books. Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to send out alerts to thousands of people on GoodReads.
Still, this particular method had all the subtlety of an anvil.