January 04, 2013 02:24pm
Kink.com's Grand Experiment
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland
Kink.com's Grand Experiment By Rich Moreland, January 2013
For AINews readers who keep up with such things, Girlfriend Films recently moved to a larger facility in northern Los Angeles County. The company’s relocation reminded me of a story I’ve had in mind for a while.
A few of years ago, I visited San Francisco's Kink.com and talked with owner Peter Acworth, a former PhD student from Great Britain with a head for business. He explained to me that part of Kink's mission is to demystify the BDSM fetish and creating a sense of community is important in this effort.
As a result of Acworth’s grand experiment, Kink.com is establishing a new paradigm for an adult business. Kink is reaching out beyond producing content to humanize the face of porn.
At the time of our interview, Kink was comfortable in its new facility, the Old National Guard Armory on Mission Street. Acworth related three ideas that he envisioned for his business. First, he was initiating a live cyberspace product that encouraged paying members to comment on shoots in progress and offer suggestions to enhance what they wanted to see. This way, Kink’s members help shape the content beyond voting silently with their dollars.
Second, he wanted to give the public access to the Armory via scheduled tours, sending the message that porn people are not society misfits who work dead end jobs.
Third, he was thinking about a Kink-related bar/lounge across the street. The Kink family would have a watering hole that also welcomed the public. With the recent opening of the Armory Club, all three are now reality.
Kink.com is about building community and Acworth’s ideas are fluid and innovative. This past summer, Kink introduced educational workshops open to the public. The latest involves fetish performer and director Madison Young doing a G-Spot presentation. The demystification theme marches onward.
What can be more consumer friendly than soliciting scripts from fans? Kink members can construct their own BDSM fantasy and a cash prize goes to the best idea. Kink directors will sort through the entries and find the nuggets. Anyone whose script is selected for production will get free site memberships.
Peter Acworth is giving his members ownership of the Kink product; they become stakeholders. What better way to ensure loyalty.
Now there is a new component in the works. Kink is physically expanding to the LA market. The set builder who contributed to the studio construction (he’s equity in mainstream film) chatted with me not long ago about how exciting it was to create a fetish reality. Princess Donna, director of Kink’s famous PublicDisgrace website, will be pulling up stakes to relocate, bringing with her a companion website, BoundGangBangs.
Anyone familiar with America’s past has heard of the vertical integration business model of tycoons like Andrew Carnegie that date back over a century. Acworth employs a similar set-up. He has his own facility and sets, employees produce, direct, and shoot the content, handing over the final product for marketing and distribution. Only the performers must be booked, and a handful of them work full time for the company getting what all porn people love, a steady paycheck.
Peter Acworth controls each step in production, from bottom to top, all BDSM puns intended!
Bobbi Starr, who performers and directs for Kink, reminded me that Peter Acworth cultivates a Silicon Valley Corporate culture. And, he keeps his diverse membership as happy as his employees, all done through a sense of community.
Oh, one more thing about the transplanted Brit needs a mention. When I toured the Armory I realized the obvious. Acworth is Hugh Hefner-like in one important respect: he’s taken what turns him on and turned it into a corporation. The Armory is his Playboy Mansion. Making money on what amuses you in your own funhouse is not an idle dream.