An online community of furniture enthusiasts has had the rug pulled out from under it after international furniture powerhouse IKEA threatened legal action.
The cease and desist notice has put at risk the future of IKEAhackers, made up of thousands who alter, modify or repurpose IKEA furniture.
From covering wardrobes with quirky wallpaper, to turning a cabinet into a wall-mounted rat cage, to even creating completely new pieces of furniture from IKEA components, IKEAhackers is laden with tips, tricks and pics for aspiring indie furniture modders.
The group's Facebook page has over 130,000 subscribers, many of whom have been posting their projects and feedback on the site since it launched in 2006.
Malaysian-based founder Mei Mei Yap describes herself as a naive “crazy fan”, who chose an IKEA chair name as her online pseudonym, Jules.
After receiving the legal letter, she engaged in several months of negotiations with IKEA, which has agreed to allow her to continue to use the IKEAhackers domain name.
But in order to keep the domain, she has agreed to stop running ads on the site from June 23.
The move puts the future of the community in doubt as Jules may no longer be able to fund a hobby that became a job.
"It is my main source of income. I am a full time blogger and I cannot continue funding this site without an income," she told Fairfax Media.
Funding the blog site includes managing the content, monitoring submissions and coordinating competitions such as the annual Hack of the Year.
Jules says she had no intention of exploiting the IKEA brand and argues that her site was pro-IKEA. She told Fairfax Media she was heartbroken that their first contact was a legal letter.
"I was totally crushed, devastated the next few days," she said. "Ikeahackers has evangelised the IKEA cause, we have expanded the use and application of their furniture above and beyond what they created their products for."
The blogpost has received hundreds of comments from concerned IKEAhackers, many of whom agree with Jules about the benefits for the brand.
"Jules, I am sorry to hear about these latest development. I'm an IKEA superfan as well and I know this website has been inspiration to me and countless others. And the ideas shared here have definitely lead to sales in their store and probably even inspiration for their own product development team," wrote American IKEAhacker Lenn Long.
Many are encouraging Jules to launch a new, non-brand specific site.
"Call it home hacker and call it the brand that shall not be named if you must use ikea anymore. So branch out from the brand that shall not be named. I understand you bring sentimental about the name/concept, but you made it a success and created a community without their funding and help. It's just time to look at your strengths and evolve," wrote Malaysian IKEAhacker Haanim Bamadhaj.
Jules is urging people to join a mailing list to stay updated with developments, which will include a new site.
"I am over the fighting phase now and I do want to focus on rebuilding a bigger better site. I plan on moving it to a new domain," Jule said. "I still have our collective content of over 4,000 hacks (or more, I lost count!) which is really what matters most. I am quite confident that the community will still find me, even under a new name.
IKEA reported a record profit of €3.3 billion ($AU4.8 billion) in 2013 after global sales hit €27.9 billion ($AU40.5 billion).
The company is in the middle of an aggressive growth strategy and has over 300 outlets globally.