Cheezburger opens a new chapter: Beautiful photos

Cheezburger, the oddball Seattle based network of humor sites, is best known for its captions on funny cat photos and videos of vomiting hang gliders. But it’s not all about the laughter over at the Cheeburger world headquarters in lower Queen Anne.

The company just introduced a new site called Five Minute Getaway which isn’t funny at all. There you’ll find wonderful user-submitted photos of snow-covered vineyards in Tuscany or palm trees blowing in the wind in Aruba or a lighthouse perched on a rocky point in Maine.

In a promotion, Cheezburger says the site is “your round-trip ticket to the world’s most beautiful destinations.” The photos certainly are stunning to say the least.

But does it signal a change in direction from the humor sites that millions of Internet users have grown to love?

Probably not, and here’s why.

For one, Cheezburger — perhaps more than any Internet startup I’ve encountered in Seattle — has built a culture of experimentation. They’ll try just about anything once to see if it sticks, something that CTO Scott Porad highlighted at the Get a Real Job Fair Monday night in Seattle.

“We don’t wait around…. We ship code multiple times a day,” he said.

Secondly, it is worth mentioning Cheezburger’s overall mission: Make people happy for five minutes each day.

In that regard, Five Minute Getaway could fit right in. After all, as Bing has learned, people love high-quality photography.

And, if the site doesn’t work, the Cheezburger folks will certainly be quick to pull the plug.

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