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How Would You Counter This Blog Disaster?

Posted 21 March 2007 @ 11:19 am by Sterling Hager  

Scallop Shell

This is the main website homepage of a company called Royal Dutch Shell, plc. Note the url: Note, too, there are no apparent blog offerings at this site.

Now here’s a blog entitled Royal Dutch Shell plc. which can be found at Is this a Shell corporate blog? Not hardly. Click on that picture of a distinguished looking Mr. Alfred Donovan at the top of his blog and you’re taken to a June, 2005, Wall Street Journal piece which describes the then-88-year-old Mr. Donovan and his long-standing beef with Shell.

A snippet from this Journal account which kinda’ summarizes the problem:

Later this summer, oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group is expected to merge its two parent companies, creating a new corporate entity: Royal Dutch Shell PLC… But go to and you will find a crude Web site in garish colors where Alfred Donovan, an 88-year-old British army veteran, posts dozens of media reports and commentary, most of it negative, about Shell and the accounting scandal that plagued it last year. Just after Shell unveiled the name of the new entity last October, Mr. Donovan — who has had frequent legal battles with Shell — snapped up the rights to the Web site.

So here’s the PR question I pose to you: You’re in Corporate PR at Royal Dutch Shell, plc — one of the biggest companies on the planet. Your company has a rotten image to begin with and never mind why or whether that’s right or wrong. An octogenarian with nettles in his knickers is knocking you about all over town using your name as the source address for his citizen, criticism journalism. What do you do?

Boil him in oil? C’mon, stick to right and reasonable options.

Me? First I’d find out if the guy could be converted into Shell’s Robert Scoble. My second thought is that blogs like Mr. Donovan’s happen less if corporations can address their own issues openly, directly, and honestly on their own blogs. Shell needs one, a real one, bad. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

1 Comment on “How Would You Counter This Blog Disaster?”

  1. #1 thomas keegan
    on Oct 23rd, 2007 at 15:52

    Shell/Nigeria………corruption/pollution.Two of Nigerias main industries.Its always been that way.
    Scam is an export,its really not a nice place.

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