We should have known when every single IKEA Swedish meatball came onto our plates, perfectly round (and so scary cheap... it is meat... right?), that they weren't really into deviations from their norm. Well, get ready for your Nyvoll to look like a Nyvoll: IKEA is shutting down the popular non-IKEA owned DIY site, IKEAHackers.
Image: Håkan Dahlström via Flickr
Well, they're not shutting it down. Jules Yap, the owner of the DIY site, is sort of shutting it down/sort of moving the site, in order to create a domain name without the term IKEA in the URL. Because IKEA wrote a cease and desist letter months ago, explaining that Yap couldn't financially benefit off of their trademarked brand name. How was she financially benefiting? From ads on her sidebar.
So her two choices were to move the site to a URL without IKEA's name included or remove the ads and keep the site running, an option that Yap says isn't possible. We all know that it costs money to host a site, and I imagine from her latest post that the idea leaves a bit of a bitter taste in her mouth. IKEA, a huge, successful, international company, making over $35 billion in sales, is going to begrudge a fan site a couple hundred (or thousand... or maybe only pennies... I have no clue how much Yap makes per month, but I can bet that it's not as much as an IKEA CEO) to gush over how much they love the brand and ways to tweak your Bestå so you can still feel like an individual in the uniform IKEA world. Which sounds a lot like free advertising on IKEA's end.
But there is also IKEA's side in this: they created their brand, fair and square. They did the hard work of building it up, and it's parasitic for another person to come along and build their site off of someone else's brand. IKEA stands to lose their trademark if they don't take steps to protect their trademark. And they're not saying that Yap can't run a site discussing their brand. They're just saying that Yap can't make money off of their brand. Even if it isn't a lot of money; the amount is meaningless. It's about not financially benefiting from someone else's hard work. Not an unreasonable request...
...Or is it?
What do you think? Should IKEA have stepped in and stopped IKEAHackers from using their name to make her business? Or did IKEA just shoot themselves in the foot by making a bunch of IKEA fans cranky?
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