16 September 2014: See update at end.
I have asked Goodreads, both via email to Support @ Goodreads dot com and via public posting on the official Feedback forum, if it is all right for professional book promotion companies/individuals to post reviews of their clients' books without disclosing the nature of the relationship.
Let's start with the member's page:
I don't think there's any question that Kelsey McBride is a book publicist.
Here's a screenshot from her website.
Again, right out in the open, no deception involved.
Not so much for her clients.
Back in August 2014, I discovered that one of Kelsey's clients, Mr. Bill Edgar, was rating his own books without acknowledging that he was the author. As you can see by the above profile, he was not a Goodreads Author.
At that time, he had rated -- but not reviewed -- five books, all 5-star ratings.
As you can see, two of them were his own books.
I flagged Mr. Edgar's profile, and he was turned into a Goodreads Author, with the appropriate profile.
Kelsey McBride, whom one assumes Mr. Edgar paid for her services, also posted a review of his book.
At some point after I brought this issue to Goodreads' attention via email, Ms. McBride altered her review to include some slightly more pertinent information:
That is hardly "full disclosure," since it seems unlikely Ms. McBride would have put Mr. Edgar on her website as a satisfied client if all she had done was accept a free copy of his book and write a review for Goodreads.
What Ms. McBride didn't do, however, was disclose any of that information on her Amazon review of Mr. Edgar's book, which she posted posing as "Country Girl" on 5 May 2014.
Would you like the last little shred of doubt removed from your mind?
Here you go, taken from the fiverr account of one of our favorite shills, Cailin Koy, whose accounts have been removed from Goodreads three times but who remains a top Amazon reviewer.
Goodreads is carrying water for Amazon and apparently, like Amazon, has no ethics left.
Update: 16 September 2014 -- After a week of public discussion on Goodreads and no response from Staff, policy was more or less clarified a little bit by Staff Member Aaron, who basically said the usual: Issues are decided on a case by case basis, so if you have questions, email Support. That's exactly what I had done in early August. However, I resent that original email and updated it with the information regarding purchases from fiverr and the Amazon account, and a few hours later, the Kelsey McBride account was gone.
While this is an appropriate outcome, it doesn't take away the fact that Goodreads users should not be the ones saddled with the responsibility for policing the site. Nor should it take Staff six weeks to deal with an "issue" like this.
It's still a matter of, if no one complains, it's okay.