A fansite is a Web page that fans of a particular subject—a celebrity, sports team, game, cultural trend, etc.,—create and maintain so other fans can visit the site to learn and discuss all about that particular subject. Fansites are often referred to as fan pages and fan clubs as well. Celebrities and organizations sometimes create their own fansite, called official fansites, so as to have more control over their image and merchandise. If a fansite revolves around a celebrity or organization that has not created or endorsed that site, it is considered an unofficial site. Fansites can be about practically anything. Celebrities are probably the most common subjects of fansites, but there are fansites devoted to everything from the latest political movement, to charity organizations, to a favorite activity or sports team.
An official fansite is one sponsored directly by the interested organization or celebrity. Celebrities, particularly musicians, often organize their own fansites where fans can go to receive the latest news about their favorite band, purchase the latest album and even communicate on forums with fellow fans. Official fansites are often, but not necessarily, created and maintained by celebrities. Sometimes, celebrities officially endorse and even supply information to a fansite that was created and remains maintained entirely by fans.
Unofficial fansites are usually careful to disclaimer that a site is not maintained or endorsed in any way by the particular subject. Unofficial fansites have many different presentations. Some may contain all relevant information about the particular subject and appear very much like an official site. Others, however, might simply contain photo galleries of a favorite celebrity.
Another kind of fansite are Web pages devoted around a general topic, such as movies or music, that attempt to provide encyclopedic and trivia information about a particular movie, director, actor, band or other relevant subtopic. Such sites are often used by professionals of the particular industry in question as well as by fans. In the 2000s, such sites became a sort of cultural phenomenon. Fans were able to voice their own critical opinions on a scale never seen before. Lists generated by fans, such as top-250 movie lists began to compete with lists published by esteemed professional critics.
Unofficial fansites that offered inside news scoops of the entertainment industry began to gain credibility and respect via their appearances on larger, popular fansites. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB), for example, became a widely respected movie industry fansite in its own right, to the extent that it became a full-fledged business, and helped lend credibility to smaller fansites and entertainment news sources. Some sites have become so popular that they've generated significant income, and some have even become the go-to destination for any general information about a particular topic.