One of the things that makes IKEA furniture appealing to people is that, with a bit of ingenuity and some tools, the not-terribly-expensive furnishing can be “hacked” into something different and cool. And since 2006, IKEAhackers.net has been a repository for a number of these DIY tricks. After nearly a decade of existing without hassle from the plywood-loving Swedes, the site now has to get rid of all its advertising or give up the IKEAhackers URL.
On Saturday, IKEAhackers’ operator Jules Yap posted that she recently received a cease-and-desist from the IKEA lawyers, who claimed that the site was infringing on the retailer’s intellectual property. She says IKEA told her to turn over her URL to the company or face legal action.
“Long story short, after much negotiation between their agent and my lawyer, I am allowed to keep the domain name IKEAhackers.net only on the condition that it is non-commercial, meaning no advertising whatsoever,” she writes, citing both a desire to maintain the community she’s spent eight years fostering and the lack of cash needed to go to battle with the world’s largest home furnishings retailer.
“I don’t have an issue with them protecting their trademark but I think they could have handled it better,” writes Jules. “I am a person, not a corporation. A blogger who obviously is on their side. Could they not have talked to me like normal people do without issuing a C&D?”
So starting June 23, Jules will continue to operate the site but can’t make any money from it. Effectively, she will be giving IKEA oodles of free advertising and marketing without receiving anything in return.
IKEA has missed a huge opportunity to admit that sites like IKEAhackers only help its brand by showing consumers that just because they buy the same flippin’ Hemnes bed that everyone else in the world has doesn’t mean it has to look like everyone else’s Hemnes bed. Instead, IKEA’s lawyers have made a move that will only reflect poorly on the retailer.
Jules says she eventually hopes to move the site to a new URL but has not decided what it will be. Presumably, it will not include the word “IKEA.”