|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
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 was soon grossing several thousand dollars per day. Acworth left his graduate studies to work on the site full-time.
Operations and management
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 2014, the company made the surprising announcement that it was stopping production on its "wildly popular" Public Disgrace and Bound in Public sites, and changing Hardcore Gangbangs to make it more explicitly the fantasy of the female participant. Kink announced that it is increasing educational efforts, so as to "demystify alternative sexuality, and will be welcoming the public into The Armory. It wishes to turn Kink.com into a lifestyle brand à la Playboy.
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 whom 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. 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. 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. One opponent, anti-pornography campaigner Melissa Farley compared the images produced by Kink.com to images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and testified against the purchase.
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.
In 2013 Kink, a documentary, was made about the company.
- 2008, Kink.com was nominated for a 2009 AVN Award in a new category, Best Adult Website.
- 2010 XBIZ Award Nominee - Innovative Company of the Year
- 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
- 2015 XBIZ Award - Adult Site of the Year - BDSM
- "A Disciplined Business" by Jon Mooallem, The New York Times Magazine, April 29, 2007.
- Staff. "Kink's Acworth Responds to AHF's Nevada OSHA Complaint Kink owner says the AHF complaint is "baseless" and meant to be a distraction from the Foundations many other problems.". AVN.com. Adult Video News. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- 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.
- "Kink.com Launches First Gay Bondage Site", Adult Video News, August 4, 2008.
- Tracy Clark-Flory, "From gang bangs to glam: How Kink.com is remaking itself as a lifestyle brand", Salon, October 21, 2014, http://www.salon.com/2014/10/21/from_gang_bangs_to_glam_how_kink_com_is_remaking_itself_as_a_lifestyle_brand/, consulted 10-29-2014.
- "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.
- "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)
- "Kink.Com in San Francisco: Women and Gay Men's Abu Ghraib" by Melissa Farley, Traffick Jamming (blog), February 8, 2007.
- 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.
- "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.
- XBIZ Award Winners, XBIZ, January, 2015
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