You've seen it all over the web. It has exploded in popularity over the past five years. What is it?
It's that little box that websites show at the end of articles. You know the one. It thanks you for reading the article, and then goes on to ask you to subscribe or donate money. Sometimes it pleads, extolling how virtuous the website is for not pursuing advertising revenue or succumbing to corporate ownership.
It's the "please like and subscribe"/"smash that notification button" of the Blogosphere.
I don't know if it has a name already. But that's not going to stop me from giving it one right now.
I'm going to call it: the Busker Box.
That's what it comes down to, when you think about it. A small performance for passersby, followed by an extended hat or tin cup.
The best buskers parlay that growing crowd of donors into larger performances and larger venues. In this increasingly tortured metaphor, that would translate to speaking engagements. Or book deals.
Everyone needs to start somewhere. Only a select few people have the luxury of doing things for free. However, even those people can benefit from the direct remunerative feedback they might get from their patrons.
So if you happen to see a busker box, do not recoil in revulsion. Consider that your contribution is a direct action in support of another person's passions. You're letting them know that you care, and what you care about.
And always remember: the alternative to the busker box is an Internet completely inundated by obnoxious ads.
Nobody wants that.