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BuzzFeed Bags $50M In Venture Capital: WIN LOL WTF

BuzzFeed receives $50 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz. Now what's it going to do with that money?

BuzzFeed Bags $50M In Venture Capital: WIN LOL WTF
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BuzzFeed is looking $50 million in the face after a huge cash injection from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and that has other media outlets asking a lot of questions. 

The big one is, "Why?"

As The Washington Post reports, BuzzFeed — with its monthly page views reportedly topping 100 million — is on the up and up. "Disruptive technologies grow steadily better, and eventually supplant incumbents. BuzzFeed appears set on such a trajectory." 

‚ÄčAn active user base is an important piece of the puzzle, but investors always look for monetization, and BuzzFeed already seems to have a clear-cut model. 

Forbes reports BuzzFeed's use of native advertising — ads designed to look like editorial content — is paying off because "Buzzfeed and other native ad publishers are delivering value to brands through captivating and shareable content."

But the bulk of the coverage surrounding BuzzFeed's use of native advertising hasn't been half as rosy.

Critics say the ads — like this one from GE — are duplicitous, tricking users into clicking on them and blurring the lines between paid and original content. 

HBO: "In news, that is seemingly the model now: Ads are baked into content like chocolate chips into a cookie. Except it's actually more like raisins into a cookie because no one f****** wants them there."

Then, there's this question: What will the site will do with the money? BuzzFeed has already tried to make one major editorial move — putting more focus on traditional journalism. 

NPR points to the site's hiring of former Politico writer Ben Smith in 2011 as the start of that transition. "Under Smith, BuzzFeed has hired reporters to cover politics and culture and added reporters in Cairo, Istanbul, Russia and, most recently, Nairobi, Kenya."

That move was hurt somewhat when BuzzFeed political editor Benny Johnson's extensive plagiarism and subsequent firing made headlines last month. (Video via Newsy)

But one look at the site's home page shows BuzzFeed is still a bit of a mixed bag, with straight news stories about capital punishment or the conflict in Iraq sandwiched between posts about James Franco's hair and pictures of cute animals. 

And there's another big transition on the way: Some of the money raised will go to BuzzFeed's newly formed motion pictures branch, which will focus on video production. 

As The New York Times reports, the branch will work to produce "new videos — from six-second clips made for social media to more traditional 22-minute shows — at a rapid-fire pace."

The company has picked Web designer and performance artist Ze Frank to head BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. (Video via TED

Frank is a veteran when it comes to viral content production with a digital birthday invite he created going viral back in 2001— five years before BuzzFeed even existed. 

The $50 million addition to the company's valuation brings the total — according to The New York Times — up to $850 million. 

This video contains an image from Getty Images.