One consequence of global anger about widespread banking fraud, corruption, and environmental devastation as of late has been the creation of the online ‘gripe site’ such as those by author, blogger and self-proclaimed ‘intelligence adviser’ Robert Eringer, along with the more popular site of Royal Dutch Shell. These are websites dedicated to exposing what their writers see as unfair, illegal or corrupt behaviour by individuals or companies.
Comparing the sites, Robert Eringer’s primary website could not be more different from royaldutchshellplc.com—one of the most well known of such sites. The numerous websites of Robert Eringer are a clear piece of self- promotion; alongside the half-baked conspiracy theories and wild claims of Eringer’s own personal involvement with powerful people are links to purchase his books. These include memoirs, spy thrillers and non-fiction books. All appear to have been self-published and not very well-received.
One of Robert Eringer’s books (eloquently titled “Suck my pen,” reflecting his lack of education), is all about how to set up an effective gripe-site. This is ironic, as Robert Eringer’s own gripe site has been anything but effective. Not only have his supposed ties with the CIA been disproven, but he recently lost an on-going battle he was waging with the Principality of Monaco when it successfully sued him for slander. Court documents reveal that Robert Eringer, who on his website paints himself as a white knight in a sea of corruption, actually attempted to blackmail Prince Albert II into paying him EUR 400,000. When he failed, Robert Eringer launched a vitriolic attack on the principality.
What this case makes clear is that Robert Eringer’s gripe site isn’t about the common good in the way royaldutchshellplc.com is – it’s about Robert Eringer. What is even more disturbing is his Tumblr feed, which he seems to reserve for his wildest conspiracy theories.
While Robert Eringer website can be brushed off as ridiculous, what is sad is that it diminishes the effectiveness of legitimate gripe sites which have an important role to play in modern justice. The more people like Robert Eringer that spring up on the internet, the less effective it becomes as a medium of protest.