Fans are themselves major producers of resources that aid discovery — for both committed and casual or new fans. This a theme that I've returned to a few times on this blog (example). In the published version of my book I wrote about the tensions that might arise if this 'amateur' fan production continues to get more 'professional':
[S]ome fan economy endeavours are approaching the status of cottage industries, and have a high profile in their niche areas. They may play a significant role in charting parts of the Long Tail that mainstream media fail to reach. Commercial interests may want to license the materials that fans have curated and created. If this happens, or if what fans have built directly helps to lift artists and creators… out of the Long Tail to reach a larger audience, they may be justified in expecting a non-trivial share of the earnings that result.
This is the point where the fan economy bleeds into the traditional media economy. There may be opportunities for some… fans to go semi-professional if they show that they can build a credible audience or network of other fans, sufficient to attract sponsorship or merchandising deals. This could become a popular route to starting or building a career in the wider media sector, but it will also cause friction and disagreements where it is perceived to threaten the non-commercial ethos of hard-line blog culture.
The first draft of the book had an extended scenario to illustrate both the creep of professionalism and the tensions it brings. I can't write narrative or dialogue well enough to pass muster for publication in a book, so that's why this ended up on the cutting room floor, along with my other fictional scenarios. But in the hope that it might still be of interest to some, here it is.