The folks over at Cheezburger are masters of user-generated content — obtaining and showcasing funny photos and videos from the cat, dog and fail lovers who show up in droves every day. But a new offering that quietly launched this evening could take user-generated content to an entirely new level.
It’s called Cheezburger Sites, and it’s a big deal. Here’s why: Essentially, it allows any person to create a humor-oriented Web page with their own personalized content, highlighting what they find funny from Cheezburger and beyond.
Think about it like a Facebook page — just for humor. The significance of that was not lost on some Cheezburger loyalists.
The company’s chief revenue officer Todd Sawicki Tweeted tonight that the “future of @Cheezburger just launched” and CTO Scott Porad Tweeted that he was “really, really excited” about the new offering.
In some ways, Cheezburger is bringing new meaning to the classic slogan: “Have it Your Way.”
The Seattle company already has a massive following of dedicated fans — pulling in 20 million unique visitors last month. If a subsegment of that audience creates their own pages — filling the Cheezburger network with even more content — traffic and user engagement could soar.
Furthermore, the new offering provides a new way for Cheezburger to “bubble up the best content onto the main sites,” explains CEO Ben Huh. One could even imagine Cheezburger using the new tool as a way to recruit blogging talent, monitoring the top performing sites.
“Is there room for yet another personal page for folks to manage? We don’t know yet,” Huh tells GeekWire. “For most people, it’s not the number of personal pages that matter as most of them don’t have any to begin with. For the more Internet-savvy folks, we have to make sure that our sites are compelling and different.”
Intrigued by the new offering, I gave it a try tonight, creating a personal page and a page for GeekWire. It was easy to use, and worked well in my limited tests. But will I have the time or inclination to populate yet another personal content site?
Users can create as many pages as they like, setting up niche-oriented humor sites around various topics.
“Your site allows you to share your sense of humor with the world,” according to a promo by the company. “Show off your collection of hat-wearing puppy LOLs, demotivational posters about office life or the best animated gifs on the internet.”
Users also can showcase their favorite items from the Cheezburger empire, whether funny videos from Fail Blog, weird charts from GraphJam or silly cat photos from I Can Has Cheezburger.
The goal is pretty simple: “Make a Cheezburger Site and make the Internets a funnier place.”
Once dismissed as an oddball startup, Cheezburger has grown into a major force on the Internet. The fast-growing company, with more than 50 sites, raised $30 million from Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group and others earlier this year.