What absolute clots. IKEA has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the operator of Lifehacker favourite IKEAhackers, demanding that the site give up the IKEAhackers name and hand over its domain name.
Site founder Jules explains what happened in a post on IKEAhackers:
Some months ago I received a Cease and Desist (C&D) letter from the agent of Inter IKEA Systems B.V., citing that my site IKEAhackers.net has infringed upon its intellectual property rights. In that letter they asked that I agree to voluntarily transfer the domain name IKEAhackers.net to them, failing which they reserve the right to take any legal action it deems necessary against me. 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.
This is such an utterly brain-dead move by IKEA it’s hard to fathom. IKEAhackers encourages people to use and enjoy IKEA products — I know I’ve made purchases based entirely on hacks suggested by the site. In other words, it’s good for business. Trying to shut it down has the opposite effect — it makes IKEA look like a bunch of greedy, grasping accountants who don’t deserve a cent.
Big corporations have a sorry track record with this kind of short-sighted behaviour. Back in 2011, Apple forced Australia site iTunes On Sale to change its name to Gift Cards On Sale. The usual argument is that companies have to protect their trademarks. The reality is that the brand damage done by this kind of Streisand effect move is potentially greater than any risk of dilution.
So what happens now? IKEAhackers founder Jules has retained the domain name, but only if it doesn’t feature advertising — something that’s not practical for continuing to run the site given the associated hosting costs. So the site will eventually be moving to a new domain and name (which won’t mention IKEA at all, obviously). Jules asks that anyone who has enjoyed the site signs up for its mailing list so they can be notified when the new version goes up. We’ll certainly be checking it out.