|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
|Key people||Peter Acworth|
Kink.com was started by UK-native Peter Acworth in 1997 while he was a PhD student in finance at Columbia University. After reading a story in a British tabloid about a fireman who made £250,000 in a short period by starting an internet pornography site, Acworth decided to start a porn site of his own. Since Acworth had what he described as a lifelong interest in bondage, he oriented the site toward BDSM porn. The site was called Hogtied.com and initially featured content that was licensed from other primary producers. The site was successful, and the site was soon grossing several thousand dollars per day. Acworth soon left his graduate studies to work on the site full-time.
Acquisition of the San Francisco Armory
In 1998, Acworth moved the company from New York City to San Francisco. Finding that sales were leveling off because other sites were using the same content, Acworth began producing his own material, initially featuring himself with various models who he found through Craigslist or through his photographer friends. He opened the company's second site, Fucking Machines, in 2000, and has since opened twenty-six additional subscription websites. Fucking Machines was also reviewed by RabbitsReviews in 2004, and now has a score of 88/100.
Several websites under the Kink.com umbrella feature directors who relocated following the demise of Insex as a result of US government pressure in 2005, but offer more of a focus on consensuality than Insex was known for.
In late 2006, Kink.com purchased the San Francisco Armory for $14.5 million, for use as a production studio. A group known as the Mission Armory Community Collective formed to oppose Kink.com's use of the building and in early February 2007 held a public protest in front of the building.
At one point, there were plans to demolish part of the building to make way for a condominium development. Ironically, this brought in supporters who welcomed Kink.com's preservation of the historic building as part of an overall attempt to revitalize and bring back business to the area, without altering the appearance of the historic building.
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom also expressed concern over the Kink.com purchase, and scheduled a special meeting of the San Francisco Planning Commission in March 2007 to review the company's use of the building. The meeting was well-attended by both supporters and opponents of the Kink.com purchase. The Planning Commission for its part ruled that Kink.com was not in violation of any law or zoning requirement.
Although Kink.com has stated that its activities would be invisible to the surrounding neighborhood, La Casa de las Madres, a neighboring women's shelter, announced that they would be leaving the location because of the media scrutiny of Kink.com's presence. In addition to utilizing the Armory for its own productions, Kink.com also rents space in the historic building to local independent filmmakers to use as locations in non-pornographic narrative films and videos.
Some residents of the Mission District were disturbed by Kink.com's purchase of the San Francisco Armory, feeling that a pornography studio should not be located in the middle of a residential neighborhood near schools or that the site should have been used for low-income housing or other community-oriented uses. At one point, there were plans to destroy part of the structure to accommodate condominium development.
Anti-pornography campaigner Melissa Farley has compared the images produced by Kink.com to images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and testified against Kink.com's purchase of The Armory in a March 2007 meeting of the San Francisco Planning Commission.
Kink.com has also been the subject of criticism from other gay-BDSM centric websites. Websites such as Bondagezine.com have criticized Kink.com of having no real ties towards the gay community and for having more straight-centric websites than they do gay ones.
In 2007, the company's website Fucking Machines was involved in a trademark dispute when the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant a trademark for the name of the site, asserting that it was obscene. Also in 2007, the company began streaming regular live shows, in part as a defense against copyright infringement. One Kink.com bondage site, Device Bondage, now streams monthly live shows, and erotic wrestling site Ultimate Surrender began streaming its competitive matches live in 2008.
In 2008, the company added on-demand technology to its websites, selling updates to their websites on a per-episode basis rather than strictly by subscription. This system recently began adding third-party content, including that from Germany's Marquis.
The company recently launched a site called BoundGods.com, a gay bondage site directed by Van Darkholme (also the director of Naked Kombat). Bound Gods was launched under a new gay-focused division, KinkMen.com.
In November 2008, Kink.com was nominated for a 2009 AVN Award in a new category, Best Adult Website.
In 2013 Kink, a documentary, was made about the company.
- 2009 XBIZ Award - FSC Leadership Award
- 2009 XBIZ Award - Original Web Content
- 2011 AVN Award - Best Alternative Web Site
- 2014 AVN Award - Best Alternative Website
- 2014 AVN Award - Best Web Premiere - Public Disgrace 31515
- "A Disciplined Business" by Jon Mooallem, The New York Times Magazine, April 29, 2007.
- "The New Pornographers" by Robin Rinaldi, 7x7, August 01, 2006.
- " The Man Behind the Fucking Machines", Village Voice, July 16, 2008
- "Kink.com Celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary", Behind Kink, February 1, 2008.
- Fucking Machines review by Rabbit http://www.rabbitsreviews.com/s63/Fucking-Machines.html
- "Kink hearing: The pornographer's purchase of the Armory faces more roadblocks" by Deborah Giattina, San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 7, 2007.
- "San Francisco Planning Commission - Special Public Hearing", SFGTV, March 8, 2007. (link to streaming Windows Media Video and downloadable MP3 audio)
- No welcome mat for adult film studio" by Marisa Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, January 26, 2007
- "Planning Commission hears Kink.com case" by Liz Highleyman, Bay Area Reporter, March 15, 2007.
- Rubenstein, Steve (2007-01-13). "Ex-armory turns into porn site". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Service organization flees from kinky Mission neighbor" by Sarah Duxbury, San Francisco Business Times, March 23, 2007.
- "Kink.Com in San Francisco: Women and Gay Men's Abu Ghraib" by Melissa Farley, Traffick Jamming (blog), February 8, 2007.
- Jeffrey C. Billman (2007-06-07). "THE F BOMB". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
- "At Kink.com, A Live Tool Against Piracy", CNet News, March 30, 2007.
- "Trina Michaels to Appear Live on DeviceBondage.com", XBiz, August 14, 2008.
- "Ultimate Surrender Streams 3 Matches Live", Adult Video News, August 18, 2008.
- "Kink.com Launches Kink On Demand", Adult Video News, August 6, 2008.
- "Kink.com Partners With Germany's Marquis", Adult Video News, August 19, 2008.
- Bound Gods review by Rabbit http://www.rabbitsreviews.com/s6816/Bound-Gods.html
- "Kink.com Launches First Gay Bondage Site", Adult Video News, August 4, 2008.
- "Complete 2009 AVN Awards Nominee List", AVNAwards.com, November 25, 2008.
- XBIZ Announces Finalist Nominees for 2010 XBIZ Awards, XBIZ, Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009
- "XBIZ Awards - Past Winners". XBIZ Awards. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "AVN Announces the Winners of the 2011 AVN Awards". AVN. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- AVN Staff (2014-01-19). "AVN Announces the Winners of the 2014 AVN Awards". AVN. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
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