Support The Strictly Spoiler In 2019

With the 2019 Strictly Season almost upon us and the contestants, and hopefully Dame Darcey’s replacement, expected to be announced in the next few weeks I just want to take a few moments to talk about the various ways you can help to support this site during the 2019 series.

Before we get on to the ways you can support me and this site I just want to take a moment to talk about why I have been asking for support for the last couple of years.

This site is now getting really busy during spoiler season. At its peak in 2018 there were 675k page views from 220k of you over the course of a Strictly weekend. Those of you who have been around for the last couple of years will know that I now deploy a scalable hosting solution which provides multiple load balanced servers for you to connect to which allows me to keep the website up at peak times when tens of thousands of you are trying to access it at the same time. Barring a couple of 10 minute periods which were down to human error on my part the website stayed up in 2018 due to this solution to a problem that had been plaguing me since traffic first started to boom in 2014.

This solution is not cheap though and cost me over £1000 last year. When I first started experimenting with more expensive hosting options in 2017 I opened up a donation button to allow people to help me out as a few people on social media had indicated they would be happy to pay to access the site. A donation button allowed people to do just that whilst also keeping the site free to use for the majority in spite of my spiralling hosting costs. The donation button remained for 2018 and was used by enough of you to pay for my hosting for 2018 and I am grateful to each and every one of you who used it to help out with those spiralling costs.

The site is also funded by adverts. Sadly adverts are a necessary evil especially for smaller publishers like myself and some ad revenue is reinvested into the business to pay for things like competition prizes (for which I have some HUGE plans for 2019) some also has to be taken as income by myself though it’s only in the last year or two that I’ve been able to record a profit on my self employed accounts. For the first 5 or so years I did this I made a loss and often those losses were significant.

Right after the how and why’s of why this site has its current funding model lets move on to the ways you can help support this site and there are both things you can do which will directly cost you and some things which are free.

Donations

The donation button is back for 2019 to allow visitors to make a cash donation through paypal. As always I have to stress that donations are entirely optional and should only be made if you can afford to do so. There are no expectations on any of you to donate and it should only be done if you have the money to spare!

To make a one time donation through paypal you can use THIS LINK or the button below

Paypal will take a commission out of any donations made using the links above (approximately 3.4%+20p out of any donation)

New for 2019 though you can also make donations by cheque/postal order. In order to do so you must follow the following process precisely

  1. Make your cheque/postal order payable to “The Strictly Spoiler”
  2. IMPORTANT!!! On the reverse on the cheque/postal order write “Thorp” (please note the spelling) and “71993152”. You must put these details on the reverse of the cheque or it will not be processed
  3. Place your cheque/postal order in an envelope and send it to “Freepost Starling”. No stamp is required

Also new for 2019 you can make a one off or regular donation by bank transfer or regular standing order to the following details

Name: The Strictly Spoiler
Bank: Starling Bank
Sort Code: 60-83-71
Account Number – 71993152
Reference – Anything of your choosing

Cheque or bank transfer donations attract no fees for me unlike the PayPal ones although it will be the PayPal donations I plug on most of my posts for simplicity’s sake

Support For Free

If you are unable to make a financial donation (which I must again stress there is no obligation on anyone to support me in that way) there are a few ways you can support me for free or even earn yourself some money by supporting me

Switch Your Energy

Those of you on Facebook/Twitter will have seen me posting a link to check your energy prices with green supplier Bulb over the last few months.

If you switch using MY LINK you will earn yourself £50 credit towards your energy bills with Bulb and I’ll also earn £50 too and you’ll be doing your bit for the planet. Bulb will also pay your exit fees if your current supplier charges them and will not charge you any exit fees should you leave in the future.

Earn Cashback On Your Online Shopping

A little known secret is that there are some sites that will pay you cashback on your everyday online shopping or for signing up to service providers like mobile phone networks, phone and broadband packages, insurance and even things like credit cards

The two main cashback sites are Quidco and TopCashback both of which are free to join (although they both offer an optional premium service at £5 per year). You will receive a referral bonus for signing up through my links (as will I). At the time of writing you will earn £10 for signing up to Quidco (once you’ve earned £5 in cashback your extra £10 will be credited) and £7.50 for signing up with TopCashback (once you’ve earned £10 in cashback your extra £7.50 will be credited). These offers can vary and you will see details of the current offer when you click my links to sign up

I have earned £1120 from Quidco and £1700 from TopCashback over the years which are not amounts to be sniffed at

I’ve also used the cashback sites for pet insurance for the last few years and recently paid £70 for an annual pet insurance policy for my kitten with £52.50 cashback meaning the policy cost me £17.50 for the year. Sadly she had an accident last month necessitating a number of trips to the vet and an operation which would have cost coming up to £1000 without the insurance. The cashback sites definitely can be useful if used right!

Earn £5 For Trying A New Bank

This one is really easy If you have a smartphone. Simply sign up to new app based bank Monzo using my link and we both get £5 once you spend using the debit card

Monzo offer real time spending alerts, savings pots, overdrafts (subject to status) and loans (subject to status) all from a convenient app

All deposits benefit from full FSCS protection as Monzo are a fully regulated bank

Carry a lot of bank cards? Earn £5 to merge them into just one card

The curve card allows you to add all your credit/debit cards into their simple to use app and then select which one your curve card is linked to with the ability to change them on the fly in the curve app or even go back in time and change the card a transaction is charged to.

Curve is free although they do offer premium plans with insurance and different cards including metal cards

Sign up through MY LINK and we both earn £5 as soon as you first spend using your curve card (or just change you pin in a cash machine which worked for me to get my £5 when I signed up)

If you are asked for a referral code use D56966JN

Turn Off Your Ad Blocker

If you run an ad blocker please consider whitelisting this domain. I get your dislike for adverts, I’m not fond of them too, but for smaller publishers like me they are a necessary evil as without them I would not have an income from this site

I try and keep my ads as unobtrusive as possible and I have a zero tolerance policy for ads which redirect your browser to a scam prize draw site as can sometimes happen with mobile adverts. There have been times when I’ve been alerted to those ads and I’ve disabled the ad network responsible, taking a hit in my income in the process, rather than continuing to allow those adverts to be served on my website

If you run an adblocker you should see a notification asking you to disable it on a weekly basis along with a couple of ways you can support the site if you aren’t willing to disable your ad blocker. This notification is dismissible though allowing you to view the content regardless. Unlike a number of websites I am not blocking access to those who run an ad blocker

Join In With The Competitions

The last couple of methods to support me and the work I do are completely free of charge, require no signing up to other websites and could win you a massive prize

For the last few years I’ve run competitions for those who commented on posts on social networks and right here at the home of The Strictly Spoiler and I wont lie, these competitions are set up with the intention of increasing the discussion that is taking place on the social networks and here. The more discussion takes place the more my posts get seen by others on social networks and the more traffic I receive

2019 wont be any different and as well as Amazon vouchers I also plan to have iPads to give away this series too. I’m still finalising the details but expect more information in August during the contestant announcements.

By joining in with the discussion on my posts during the 2019 series you help increase awareness of my site to your own social network and you could win a prize worth over £300

Like/Share/Retweet

This one seems pretty minor but is vastly important, whenever I post content to Facebook/Twitter the most important thing you can do, and it only takes a couple of clicks, is to like/react to/share that content on Facebook or like/retweet it on Twitter. You can also use the buttons for all popular social networks that appear on all my posts on the blog to like/share them and it is important

Be A Mole

One final, and probably the most important, way you can support not only myself but the wider spoiler community is to offer your services as a mole. The spoiler is sourced every week using audience moles arranged either by myself, other members of the spoiler community or ideally from multiple sources so we can confirm the accuracy of the spoiler

If you are lucky enough to get audience tickets once the ballot opens the best way to contact me to offer your services as a mole is through the Facebook page linked above. Anonymity is given to all moles and there is zero chance the BBC will identify you as a mole

Thanks to those of you who support me using one (or more) of the methods above and for those who don’t (who are in the vast majority) that is ok too! Without you guys this website wouldn’t have become the success that it has been with a ludicrous number of you now trying to view it at peak times. And I wouldn’t be able to keep up with that demand without the support of you guys. So thank you! And here’s to a successful 2019 series both for Strictly and of course for The Strictly Spoiler

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A More Secure Strictly Spoiler

Over the last few weeks some changes have been made to The Strictly Spoiler website in order to improve the experience and make it more secure for all users

Many of you may have previously seen alerts in your address bar when visiting this site warning that the connection was “not secure” especially if you use browsers like Google Chrome although others also include this warning these days. I’ve also had a few of you express concerns about this warning on Facebook or Twitter especially with the site asking for donations in recent times to help fund the hosting it needs.

Firstly for the vast majority of you these warnings were nothing to worry about when using this site. I’d actually go as far as to say that the only person who needed to worry about the site being insecure is me because I am the only person who can log into the website and previously my login wouldn’t be securely encrypted. Those of you who donated didn’t need to worry as donations are handled offsite by paypal who use secure connections to their servers although I do know from conversations on Twitter that the browser warnings did put some people off using the donation button last series

However the internet is rapidly moving towards a more secure internet especially with browsers pointing out when connections are not secure and an increasing number of websites are switching from http to https and a few weeks ago this site too made the switch and now anyone visiting this site will be routed to a secure connection and you will notice that the “not secure” warnings are now replaced by a padlock or similar depending on the browser you use indicating that the connection between your browser and my web servers is now encrypted.

What does this mean for most of you? Well not much. The site is still up it’s just had a very minor change of address from http://www.strictlyspoiler.com to https://www.strictlyspoiler.com and any new links for posts should be updated and if you happen to come to the site using the old links you will be automatically redirected to the new address. You are welcome to update your bookmarks if you want but there’s really no need!

There’s also been a few other minor under the hood changes most noticeably concerning the comments system. For the last few years the site has been using the Disqus system for its comments which is a 3rd party system that a lot of websites offering interactive comments use. Disqus offers a few more features when compared to the comments system included in the WordPress backend that this site uses. Unfortunately with Disqus being a 3rd party GDPR has hit in a way that made administering the competition I regularly run throughout the series an absolute nightmare as I would no longer receive information like email addresses of people commenting so I could contact prize winners directly which meant I had to contact winners through the Disqus system itself and hope they spotted my comment.

For this reason I have now removed the Disqus comments system and reverted to the comments system included in wordpress and if you comment now you may notice the system is different and you may have to register again to comment rather than using your Disqus account. This also means that now if you comment I am processing any personal data you provide as part of that comment and you have a right to request the data I hold as well as a right to have that data removed. The website’s privacy policy has now been updated to reflect this and a dedicated email address has been set up to handle any GDPR requests (not that I expect to get any as I really don’t process much in the way of personal data especially for most site users who just read the spoiler and then go away) in due course

Ok that’s pretty much it for a rather long winded post that hopefully explains the changes that have been made to the site

And whilst we may be in the off season as you can see I’m still hard at work behind the scenes on this website and I still incur hosting costs all year round. If you want to help me out with these costs or just want to buy me a beer you can do so using THIS LINK or the button below

Strictly Spoiler 2018 Thanks

Well here we are at the end of another spoiler season with the final spoiler of the series due to land later tonight. And those of you who have been around for the last few years know this is the point where I like to say a few words of thanks.

Firstly I want to thank those of you reading this. I’m fully aware that the majority of visitors to this site come, read the 2nd paragraph of the spoiler post and then go away again. You people reading this are the people who actually read and engage with my content and help make the communities here, on Facebook and on Twitter what they are.

Next I want to talk about donations. The donations button was introduced last series as a way of allowing me to experiment with a number of hosting solutions to try and find something that could cope with the site’s growing needs that had outgrown everything I could afford to throw at it. Traffic to this site has skyrocketed over the last few years and over the course of this series the site has received 3.8Million views (an increase of 52% from 2017) from 770k individual people (an increase of 39% from 2017). At its busiest weekend the site received 675k page views from 220k individual people in a 24 hour period

This is a lot of page views and dealing with it has been a unique challenge but one that I have met. With the exception of two small 10 minute periods one of which I quickly adapted to and the other was down to human error over the last couple of weeks the site has remained up at peak times throughout the entirety of the 2018 series and this is the first series since 2014 I can say that.

A lot of that is thanks to you guys. My hosting costs (which vary depending how much power I have to throw at the site and how many of you come to visit the site) for the whole of the 2018 series will approach £1000 but the donations button helped towards these costs. I just want to add that I’m not getting rich from the donations button. If everyone who visited the site donated £1 then yes I would be getting very rich but it hasn’t been used anywhere near that much but I am very grateful to everyone who has donated and I’ve received donations varying from 1p (which whilst I am grateful for I should add that paypal claimed the whole of that donation in fees) to £100 and I am thankful to each and every one of you who donated to help cover my spiralling site costs. If you want to get a last minute donation in you can use THIS LINK or the button below

Whilst the donation button will remain on the site I just want to stress for a minute that use of it is entirely optional. This site will always remain free to use for the majority of users. It is entirely optional to donate and should only be done if you can afford to do so and there should be no obligation on anyone to donate.

Next up it’s sources and things have worked a little differently this series compared to previous ones. I wont lie, previous series I’ve taken the spoiler that’s published elsewhere if you know where to look and reproduced it on this site. It’s not something I set out to do but something that got accidentially thrust on me when I gained search ranking for the spoiler in 2014 and I’ve been riding the wave ever since. But this series has been very different. I’ve been working very closely with a couple of other spoiler sources and we’ve worked together this series sourcing moles, providing each other with the spoiler when we’ve been struggling for sources and this series more than any series it has felt more like being part of a community that we have all contributed towards. All the sources I work with have the same ethos as me that the spoiler should be available to those who seek it out but kept away from those who like to wait for the not live results show

Finally I just want to thank those of you who supported me in the press attention last month. I posted the children in need spoiler for those who wanted to know and in spite of me taking steps to prevent the inevitable news articles claiming I could be taking revenue away from Children in Need those articles still arrived because it was a slow news day on Remembrance Sunday apparently. I was in a bad place after them as I really don’t like being the centre of attention in the way this job has thrust upon me nor do I like being made out to be something I’m not and a lot of your positive comments helped get me through that, then sock it to the press when I wrote the Christmas special spoiler and that resulted in fewer news articles about the Christmas Special Spoiler. Guess they all found newsworthy articles about Donald Trump or Brexit to write about instead.

Well that’s all the thanks done so what is left is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2019 when The Strictly Spoiler will be back. If the BBC don’t do something crazy like a live results show. Which they probably won’t!