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What the news media says about the website that’s cost Shell billions…

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The website which has cost Shell billions… 

On 2 August 2006, Fortune magazine published a feature recommending the website as a source of information about Royal Dutch Shell.

In February 2007 Prospect magazine stated in an article : “The Donovan website has become an open wound for Shell”. The article explained how the website “can claim to have cost Shell billions of dollars…”

On 11 June 2007, Ed Crooks of the Financial Times described it as an anti-Shell website run by a father and son partnership that has been a long-running thorn in the company’s side.” 

On Friday 22 June 2007, The Moscow Times published a front page story revealing that “A motivational e-mail… originally leaked to an anti-Shell web site,, was the subject of a front-page story in the Financial Times…” 

In July 2007, the One World Trust, an independent research organisation associated with the UK Houses of Parliament and the United Nations, said in an “Accountability in Action” newsletter: “As The Royal Dutch Shell plc website shows, a gripe site can have a profound impact on global organisations”. The newsletter went on to say: “The site has not only cost Shell billions of dollars in Russia… “even Shell insiders unhappy with the company use it”. 

On 1 Sept 2007, The Daily Mail published an article headlined “Shell on backfoot as ‘gripe site’ alleges safety concerns”  said Shell had been “rattled” and put on the “back foot” by a campaign involving the website. 

On 4 Sept 2007, Reuters published an article headlined: “Shell loses exec on troubled Kazakh project-source”. The article described as “an unofficial company Web site” and said it “acts as a conduit for whistleblowers at the company…” 

On 9 September 2007, The Sunday Telegraph published an article under the headline: “Online revolutionaries”. It included a section about the website and its owners, “Alfred Donovan, now in his 90s, and his son John.”  It said: “Their site became a hub for activists and disgruntled former employees. It has been used to mobilise support for environmental campaigns by the likes of WWF, the environmental lobbying group, against drilling in the Arctic and Russia, for groups worried about Shell’s social impact in Ireland and Nigeria, and by the company’s former group auditor Bill Campbell to raise issues about employee safety.” 

On 12 September 2007an article was published by Prospect Magazine describing the website as“essential reading for anyone who covers Shell and the energy sector more broadly.” 

On 22 September 2007The Times newspaper reported “Since the 1990s, Royal Dutch Shell has been atwar with a family who registered a website,” 

On 12 November 2007, the Japanese business magazine Nikkei BP published an article about the website stating: “The fate of Sakhalin 2 was changed by two British men”, described as “a 90-year-old man and his son” – a reference to Alfred Donovan and his son John. 

On 21 December 2007, Reuters published a news story with the headline: “Shell to cut thousands of IT jobs”. The article said “One employee told the Shell protest website that 3,200 jobs could be lost…” Many news sources subsequently picked up the IT outsourcing story including the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph.

On 12 Jan 2008, an ITPro article reported that news of Shell’s outsourcing plans “came to light via an internal company email forwarded to an unofficial site dedicated to providing news and insider information about Shell”. 

On 25 January 2008, Carl Mortished, World Business Editor of The Times newspaper wrote an article headlined: “Shell chief fears oil shortage in seven years” in which he described the site as “an independent website that monitors the company.” The story was a colossal scoop being the first acknowledgement by a major oil company CEO of an approaching “Peak Oil” crisis. It was subsequently picked up by many other publications because of its global significance. 

On 18 March 2008, The Wall Street Journal published an article headlined “Shell Addresses Output Issue”.The report indicated Shell had attempted to dampen concerns over its petroleum reserves… Referring to another Shell internal email leaked to John Donovan, the article said: “A copy was given to, a Web site regularly used by Shell whistleblowers and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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