Is Porn Darling Kink.com Ripping Off Its Webcam Girls?

Under the old system, cam workers were guaranteed $150 for a four-hour shift in which they brought in $500 or less from customers paying for private sessions. Above $500, commissions ranged from 30 to 50 percent. In the new payment plan, which becomes official July 1, models get a 30 percent commission for shifts below $300, 40 percent between $300 and $1,500, and 50 percent if they bring in more than $1,500 on a shift. "That's one of the reasons that KinkLive is -- was -- such an awesome place to work," Fairfax said. "It's one of the very rare things where you can make consistent money as an adult performer."

Without that minimum to support them, Holloway and her colleagues are afraid that models are going to feel pressured to push past their personal limits, to always ramp the kink up to 11 and beyond just to make the rent. In addition, changes have also been made to what KinkLive models are allowed to do in the free chat channels. The free chat channels are kind of like the antechamber of KinkLive, where viewers come to see which models are available and engage in some light chat before signing up for a private session. 

Until recently, models were restricted to relatively mild, playful behavior while in free chat. Those guidelines were discarded in favor of allowing every model to be as explicit as she likes. At first, that might sound like an opportunity for the models, but Holloway sees it differently. "I think the significance is that now you're on this commission-only system, and there's this big new policy change that will affect how much money you make. If the girl next to you is spreading her legs in public for a couple [dollars], and you're like, 'No, I can't do that,' or 'I can't do that for that low an amount,' she's going to make more money than you." In other words, the models will be forced into a race to the bottom to see who can be the kinkiest for the least amount of money, just as their base pay has been eliminated.

But Peter Acworth says that without making drastic changes, there won't be a KinkLive. "The product is not profitable in its current form. We're losing somewhere in the range of $30,000 to $50,000 a month, and it's because of having these model minimums in place," he says. "There's no other cam company that does that. The business is incredibly competitive and cutthroat. The webcam sites all compete for models by offering them better and better deals. Our deal was to compete by offering them a minimum. Unfortunately, that didn't work for us, so we're reverting to what the entire industry does, which is commissions only." In addition to the payment policy, Acworth expects to have most models doing their shifts from home by October 1, instead of in studios at the Armory.

It's certainly unreasonable to expect Acworth and Kink.com to commit financial suicide, but at the same time, it's somewhat jarring to hear him cite industry standards to rationalize the new policy. The entire Kink.com brand is built on customers who expect them to invent new standards, not follow them. However, Acworth thinks that, in this case, the industry standard will provide KinkLive models with fair and safe employment. He wrote in an email to SF Weekly: "If I thought the industry standard for the webcam business was exploitative or endangered the model in some manner, I would advocate we just close KinkLive.... Since numerous webcam companies compete for the same webcam models, this ensures the model receives a substantial cut of the revenue."

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Maxine Holloway

For Coral Aorta, the fact that Kink.com is such an exception to the standard practices of the industry is the very reason that confronting them on this is so urgent. "I think it's the only company where models come into the studio and work only in the studio for a wage. I don't think that there's ever been any company like this, which is why it's such an important issue to set this precedent now, that if you're going to be operating like this, you have to pay your models." 

At the same time, Aorta is not unsympathetic to the financial woes of KinkLive. "It's my goal to see a compromise between the models and Kink.com in which everyone's making money, KinkLive is able to continue operating, and they treat us with respect. I would love to keep working with them, as long as I'm getting some kind of a base pay that makes it worth my time to work there."

The models say that the work they do for KinkLive is also unique from any other company in the industry. "It's the hardest job I've ever had," Wendy Fairfax says. "I've worked as a pro-domme and stuff, and I find that the KinkLive experience is way more intense than doing anything like that. It's partly because you have to do it for multiple people, but also because they expect so much. It's because these are Kink.com customers." Holloway agrees: "I've never done any other kind of cam work where you are doing anal, electrocution, bondage. You are like a BDSM porn magician. You're shifting gears, you are giving it your all. You might be doing 20 minutes of anal, and then back in public and then 10 minutes later doing hardcore pain endurance or corporal punishment. You are doing a much more intense level of work than any other webcam company ever, I think."

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22 comments
Pussy_Kitten
Pussy_Kitten

Losing $30,000 a month??? At 720 hours in a month, that's roughly losing $41 an hour.  Paying models a $150 minimum for 4 hours, is $37.50 an hour.  It costs $5.00 a minute to take a model private on kink.com. I would say there are on average two models working at a time. So between them, on average, they only pull 7 minutes of private time per hour??? (= $35/hr) Really?? Go there and see how often they go private with a customer.  ... I mean there is overhead, but really how much can that be? to stream two webcams? for a company that is completely web based in the first place?... In the case of kink.com losing $50,000 it would be as if no customer is paying anything - ever. Those kinds of losses would indicate that it's impossible for them to earn money no matter what they do. - What ever kink.com does is what kink.com does, that's up to kink.com. But Peter Acworth's explanation seems like a lie to me.

kaciemarie
kaciemarie

hey Kink.com referred good beautiful models its show real sex fantastic performance to your models see some models for our site  girls on webcam

E.J.
E.J.

I think, purely from a financial perspective, that it must be unsustainable to pay a minimum of $150 for every four hour cam show.  The performers, who are indeed very smart, should know this. No other cam company in that industry....such as flirt4free...pays a minimum.  With that said, I think the women should definitely be making an hourly wage in addition to commissions, somewhere in excess of minimum wage.  And, if KINK.com re-packages their shows for sale on dvd or future membership archives, the ladies should get a cut of all that too, or a higher upfront fee.  Having been in that business for some time, I really don't believe any company could sustain minimums of $150 for every cam show, but there is probably a more equitable solution to be negotiated.

Cheap London escorts
Cheap London escorts

As per my view Kink is a nice website for watch the porn. I prefer this website many time to watch the porno. The video collection is nice of Kink.

kinky mike
kinky mike

mmmm, if the girls don't like the charges that kink.com make they should take their talents elsewhere. their are plenty of sites around. streammate, adultwork, myfreecams.  of course, if they recognise that being on kink.com is good for business due to traffic, then they have a decision to make. if they go somewhere else with less traffic they may make less than sticking with kink.com the bottom line is that kink.com are not a charity. next thing you know the girls will be requiring employee legal rights.  as for the clients rallying to their cause, i'm sorry, this is the adult entertainment world, and as a recent article about micropayments not working for porn world due to transient and flighty nature of guys, that is not going to work.  i used to work for a large global company many years ago, when i felt that i could no longer put up with the bs of working their (despite having a great salary) i left and did other things with my valuable time. some would prefer to stay and fight, victories such as that are often phyrric in nature i'm afraid.

Federale
Federale

That was referring to things the girls were "pressured" to do.  

Desmond Ravenstone
Desmond Ravenstone

Customers may choose who they want to watch and chat with, but they don't necessarily control how they are paid -- unless they make it clear to the owners of the business what matter to them. Lots of folks show their willingness to pay extra for businesses that reflect their values.  Look how many people are willing to go out of their way to buy food at a co-op, go to a restaurant where the staff are treated and paid better, and pledge to public radio and television.  And they make it clear to those businesses why they're willing to do that. So why not do the same for something like Kink.com?  Especially when the owner says that he's torn between keeping a better reimbursement scheme or making a decent profit? Then again, I don't expect you to understand @Federale, based on how you've been responding across the board here...

Coral Aorta
Coral Aorta

What bad decisions?  Sex work in general?  I'm very happy with making that decision in my life.

Coral Aorta
Coral Aorta

In what way is not getting paid fairly for our time and efforts "kinky"?  I certainly don't have a fetish for being underpaid.

Lorelei Mission
Lorelei Mission

Where did writer Chris Hall get all that blah-blah-blah that's in the first two paragraphs of this article?  From a press release?  Via a hug from Peter?  Non-Kink producers hear all kinds of tales from ex-Kink models (and even some current Kink models who will do what they must to pay rent)... and none of it matches Chris Halls' eerily glowing praise.

Coral Aorta
Coral Aorta

Personally, Lorelei, I have had nothing but positive experiences working for Kink sites aside from this labor issue.  I've shot for Sex & Submission, Public Disgrace, Device Bondage and more, and have never felt that I was being pushed beyond my limits.  I understand Chris Hall's introduction as I have heard from plenty of people that Kink is the best BDSM site to work with. That is not to say that other models and employees have not had bad experiences with Kink.  I've certainly heard negative reactions and stories about Kink as well.  I just wanted to mention that there are many models who really do enjoy working at Kink.

Chris H
Chris H

Whether you think Kink is being fair or not, Elizabeth, your comment is just ugly and misogynist, as if any woman who does sex work deserves whatever she gets. It's no different than saying a woman who puts on a slinky red dress shouldn't be surprised when she gets raped and beaten. The women profiled here are articulate and intelligent, and deserve much better than misogyny masquerading as half-assed feminism.

Desmond Ravenstone
Desmond Ravenstone

How about organizing the clients to back the performers?  Imagine if a significant number of paying customers said: "We'd be willing to pay more for KinkLive, so long as you stick to the original pricing agreement."  And if Ackworth explained that the jump/change in pricing is needed to provide decent wages and working conditions, I'm sure other customers would understand.

Coral Aorta
Coral Aorta

Desmond, there have actually been a number of KinkLive members who have posted on the forums offering up ideas concerning just that.  Some have offered paying a monthly membership fee or other similar plans.

Kiki
Kiki

and Kudos to Maxine and the other models for confronting a huge multi-million dollar well-liked empire, and making them put their "ethical" money where their mouth is.

Kiki
Kiki

Acworth says they're "losing somewhere in the range of $30,000 to $50,000 a month"... REALLY!!?? I find that extremely hard to believe. The only major cost (besides rent?) is the streaming technology.

Sternaris
Sternaris

It's true, this discussion can do without the snide remarks.  The porn industry already suffers from stigma, but there are highly educated models working in the industry!  In fact, one highly educated model wrote about this issue with another pov.   http://www.audreyrosexxx.com/words/?p=101

Coral Aorta
Coral Aorta

Thanks, Courtney.  I'm interested in seeing opinions and debate in response to this article, not angry flaming.

oh.crappy.
oh.crappy.

also that whole situation with the leaked porn names connected to real names and how kink.com did absolutely nothing to get the websites/info removed from the web.

Softpaws Sharpclaws
Softpaws Sharpclaws

to be honest, Elizabeth, these women in the adult industry are far more intelligent than you think.  you obviously don't understand the industry or who is involved in it.  it's ok to disagree, but leave your snide uneducated comments to yourself.  it won't make you look so stupid.

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