Mid-Market tech pioneer GameLink has been a top porn purveyor for 20 years
SEX Let us not forget, in the middle of the city's complicated relationship with our tech brethren, that the Mid-Market neighborhood now teeming with Twitter and — presently — the tunes of Spotify, was first primed for Internet takeover by two little companies. eLine and GameLink (www.gamelink.com) moved into office space in an alley just off Sixth Street's most trafficked stretch back in 2000, long before 140 characters was a thing.
Do not be fooled by their G-rated monikers: porn was the pioneer of Mid-Market's tech takeover. GameLink has been one of the Internet's adult e-commerce pioneers since 1993, and eLine is the innovative "Internet solution authority" (as the company refers to it in press materials) that made it all technically possible.
In honor of the two related enterprises' ability to hold ground for heavy breathing for multiple decades, I paid the GameLink-eLine offices a visit.
"Penis pills are exploding," GameLink's beefcake VP of business development Jeff "Dillonaire" Dillon tells me in his office's unfinished wood-and-glass boardroom, sitting a few seats from Andrew Sullivan, the eLine webperson who has constructed sites for such progressive institutions around town as Alternet, Good Vibrations — even this newspaper's first web presence back in the early '90s.
So start buying stock in hardwood because these guys know their stuff. GameLink's ability to surf trends in porn consumption is impressive. When it started back in the VHS era, it predicted the rise of DVD and video-on-demand content. It now produces its own porn shoots, sells sex toys (check our SEX SF blog at sfbg.com for Dillon's guide to must-haves for Pride week), and is working on an app for Roku and ways to optimize for Google Glass, all in pursuit of becoming a "vertical version of Amazon for the sin industry," as Dillon puts it.
Whatever, let's go look at dildos. Dillon was good enough to tour me through the office, including the basement containing some 80,000 DVDs, Game of Thrones-esque Fleshlights, molds of celebrity buttholes, and the desk of Matt from shipping, who has spent 14 years working at GameLink.
When asked about the major changes at the company in his tenure, Matt's answer had less to do with vertical integration and third party content aggregators.
"Porn's gotten way more disgusting," he told us. Did he have a theory behind this? Greater possibilities for niche marketing through sophisticated 'Net tech, perhaps?
"General downfall of society," Matt said, turning back to his list of orders. We are all witnesses.
THIS WEEK'S SEXY EVENTS
Earthy Thu/13-Sun/16 and June 20-23, 8pm, $12–$25. Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission, SF. www.sexandculture.org. Progressive porn idea woman Annie Sprinkle and her partner and UC Santa Cruz professor Beth Stephens have turned their love of the earth into this ecosexual, interactive performance piece.
Beatpig Sat/15, 9pm-2am, $5. Powerhouse, 1347 Folsom, SF. www.powerhouse-sf.com. Fashionable freaks get their looks all sweaty amid the teeming crowd of daddies at this monthly party, featuring the prodigious hosting/DJing talents of Juanita More, Walter Gomez, and Sidekick.
"Getting What You Want From Your Dominant" Mon/17, 6:30-8:30pm, $20–$25. Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk, SF. www.goodvibes.com. Being a good submissive =/= losing yourself completely. This class teaches subs how to stay clear and present so that they can meet not only the needs of their dominant partner, but their own.