HarperCollins has created some sort of toolkit that allows their authors without websites to create them (example here).
I'm not sure how this is better than a MySpace page or the publisher's own "about our author" page. It won't be indexed any faster and given that the book is out, it is too late to build a web readership that carries over to paper products.
Additionally, as the linked example shows, the results are bad.
Booksquare says, in connection with this, "the truth of the matter is that publishers simply don’t have the staff and budgets to market each and every book published."
Isn't that mind boggling? Let that sink in. The web-tardic DIY author site will be the only "marketing" some books get.
She continues, "Authors must be active participants in marketing themselves and their work."
So this is a lame marketing gesture dreamed up by the marketeers so they can report to higher-ups that they've done something. It's a checkbox on the marketing department's to-do list.