BuzzFeed Launches Social ‘Animals’ Vertical

By Devon Glenn 

Brace yourself. BuzzFeed just launched a new Animals vertical featuring animal-related geekery. I’ve already spent half an hour on it. In a nutshell, it’s Cute Overload or ICanHasCheezburger for people who can spell.

Founded in 2008, BuzzFeed sifts through the content on the Web to find the stories that are destined to go viral. The site currently reaches 20 million monthly unique visitors and an additional 300 million others through its viral media network. Animals is the fifth vertical to launch in the last four months, right behind Politics, FWD, Shift and Sports.

Said Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed’s managing editor, “Just as we have with our politics coverage, BuzzFeed Animals will take the national cute animal conversation by storm, raising the bar for everyone trying to cover cute kitten videos and corgis on the web.”

On BuzzFeed Animals there are numbered lists, galleries filled with pictures of adorable pets, and the occasional Muppet.  The commentary is written in complete sentences, so instead of baby talk, look for things like pictures of animals who think they are people, side-by-side comparisons of cats and great works of art, the astonishingly accurate “20 Cats as Fonts” list, and other highbrow variations on the animal theme. If you’ve really got some time on your hands, there’s a “Cute List” tool for uploading a picture of your pet for others to vote on.

Jack Shepherd, who will be the editor of BuzzFeed Animals, has explained his role this way: “Most sensible people with computers spend their workdays scouring the Web for baby panda slideshows and breaking cat video news, but this is actually my job,” he said in a statement. “The demand for adorable photos of newborn sloths and roundups of heartwarming interspecies friendships is so immense that some poor sap is going to have to fall on their sword and make that happen. I, for one, am thrilled to be that poor sap.”

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