Welcome Back Facebook (plus news/info for Twitter too)

Ok first of all I have to welcome all the people on Facebook back to being able to access this site through Facebook. It’s been a long 9 months or so since Facebook blocked links to the site because it apparently breached their community standards (it didn’t) but we seem to be back up and running! Especially if you saw a link to this post on Facebook

I wanted to take the next few minutes to run through some stuff I’ve already mentioned to the people on Twitter but the people on Facebook may have missed. Twitter peeps don’t worry there may be new information for you as I’m going to go into a bit more detail.

The first thing I want to talk about are my plans for how I will source the spoiler depending on a number of scenarios. At the moment we know that Strictly will go ahead with a shorter than normal series. Also the Prime Minister announced the other week that audiences will be permitted in situations such as Strictly from October.

If Strictly goes ahead with an audience as it looks like it may be able to do so there shouldn’t be any change to the spoiler or how it is sourced and posted here. Though I will stress the importance that if you are part of the spoiler community and are lucky enough to get tickets please offer your services as a mole especially if the audience isn’t running at normal capacity as moles could be harder to come by this year!

However I also have a contingency plan for if there is no audience. Regular visitors to the website will know that I run polls every week. If there is no audience and therefore no moles my plan is to freeze the polls at a time when the the spoiler would normally be released and then plug the results of that poll into the scoring system in order to generate a result. I’ve done this with historic data for 2016 and 2017 and the results were promising with the elimination being correct a majority of the time.

I will not lie. This does not produce accurate results 100% of the time. But it does most of the time and given a choice between shutting up shop and giving up my job for a year or trying to get you guys a spoiler result even if that result is occasionally wrong there is no choice. Asking me to rest the spoiler for a year would be like asking any other employee to not work for a year and to do it with no pay. Not even furlough pay. I cannot do it! And it’s not like my self employment income support scheme grant will cover my bills as due to the years they use to assess it it isn’t anything close to the 80% of my income it is supposed to be but I’m getting political now so I’m going to move on.

I also mentioned the other week, but Facebook will have missed it, that I wouldn’t be able to run regular competitions this series and just wanted to expand a bit more on that decision and the reason behind it.

Every year for the last 5 years or so I’ve run some kind of a competition for all you guys getting involved in the discussions here and on social networks. Thousands of pounds worth of prizes have been paid out over the years with those prizes being paid for out of my income as a way to reward the people who help to make this site and the community what it is.

I am really sorry I will not be able to run a competition during the 2020 series and that’s going to be the case whether it happens socially distanced or happens normally. There’s just too many variables going on at the moment to allow me to accurately predict my income and budget for prizes. Advertisers have lower advertising budgets right now which means the income for many websites which depend on adverts is reduced and my income is down for this time of the year. I have no idea what it will be like when things start to pick up in a couple of months time.

Plus what I don’t want to do is promise and even award prizes only for my income to dry up and me not be able to pay them out. That would be a massive PR disaster and I’d rather say there won’t be any competitions and then maybe do the odd spot prize if my income and budget permits it rather than make promises I cannot keep.

The majority of you have been understanding of this decision and it is much appreciated. The competitions after all are a bonus. The majority of you are here for the spoiler!

One final thing I want to discuss is something that’s been a bit of a burning topic on Facebook and Twitter lately and that is the monetisation on this website and on my social networking channels. This year more than ever I am going to have to push the monetisation especially with the series being shorter and there being no Christmas Special so my income is already going to be down 33% and that’s assuming advertising pays the same as it did last year. Which it wont because advertising budgets are down as everyone is tightening their purses.

I also understand that those of you who would previously help me out directly with a financial donation to help towards my costs may not be able to do so this year as this pandemic has hit many people’s pockets hard!

One thing I will be pushing more and that’s been true the last few weeks on Facebook/Twitter are the energy switching links because they are a really good way to support me for free whilst earning yourself £50 and getting cheaper bills in the process. Please, please, please if you are based in the UK and are responsible for paying your energy bills just take two minutes out your time to check your prices using my link. Octopus energy have cheap green energy with 100% of their Electric coming from renewable sources.

If you have a smart meter and drive an electric car they have a fantastic tariff called Agile Octopus which has prices changing every 30 minutes allowing you to choose the best and cheapest time slot to run energy hungry appliances or charge your vehicle. I don’t have an electric car and I still save on average 40% compared to a regular electricity tariff just by doing things like running my washing machine and tumble dryer in cheaper time slots. Plus if there is surplus energy on the national grid on this tariff you can even get paid to use electricity!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a smart meter though as they offer normal tariffs too. Plus there is no lock-in and no early exit fee should you ever decide to leave them.

If you are lucky enough to be able to support me with a direct financial donation you can do so using THIS LINK or the button below to make a one off donation. In the current pandemic and with my income likely to be down significantly this year your donations are appreciated more than ever but please only make a direct financial donation if it wont cause you any hardship!

Or why not make a regular donation and get a warm fuzzy feeling by signing up to my patreon page. You can pledge various levels of support from £3 per month and if enough of you sign up I can start looking at exclusive patreon content!

While we are talking about monetisation if you guys have any ideas of the sort of things you’d like to see, perhaps something you’ve seen on other sites, let me know and I’ll look into implementing it here. You can get in touch in the comments or over on the social networks.

We should be just a matter of days away from the contestant announcements although there is a chance they will be delayed. Either way as soon as the BBC start to reveal them I will post them here at the home of the strictly spoiler too! Until then keep safe and keep dancing!

Strictly Spoiler 2019 Thanks

It’s that time as we approach what will be the final spoiler of the series that I take a few minutes to reflect on the 2019 series and say some words of thanks to those who have made this year another huge year for The Strictly Spoiler

And it has been a huge year. Over the course of this series (including the pre series when contestants were being announced) this website has been viewed 5.5 million times (an increase of 46% on 2018) by 1.44 million people (an increase of 87% on 2018). During the busiest weekend this series the spoiler was viewed a whopping 907k times by 328k of you. Thank you to each and every one of you who comes to this website each week to view the content I produce.

Providing the required web servers to keep up demand is not cheap though and like last year those costs have been helped out by a few of you who have chosen to use the donation link or button. Donating is entirely optional and for the overwhelming vast majority of you this site is free to use. Donating does however help me out with the spiralling web hosting costs which continue to rise as more and more people access the site at the same time and I am grateful to those of you who have been able and willing to spare the cash to help me out with these costs.

Anyone who wants to get a last minute donation in or if you just want to buy me a Christmas present or a cool refreshing beer to thank me for all the spoilers you can do so using THIS LINK or the button below

Also thanks go out to the various sources I work with. These days I work closely with several other spoiler sources on social networks or on other websites and together we help each other out by sourcing moles to provide us with the spoiler each week. Between us we’ve had moles for each week of the 2019 series with only one or two close shaves. Also thanks to anyone who has approached me offering their services as a mole over the course of 2019 and anyone who has provided the spoiler to one of the other sources I work with. Without you moles there would not be a spoiler here or anywhere else online.

I also want to thank those of you on the Facebook page who have been very patient the last few weeks. Unfortunately Facebook have blocked the direct linking of this website on their platform in what appears to be an automatic decision on the part of Facebook following malicious complaints from those opposed to what I do in providing the spoiler. This has caused problems with delivering the spoiler and other content to Facebook and also resulted in the purging of a large number of competition entries prior to the prize draws which meant those entries had to be voided. Everyone on Facebook have been very understanding of the situation and I have worked hard to try and restore partial service on that network over the last few weeks.

What this means for the future of the Facebook page I cannot say as its primary purpose was to drive traffic from Facebook to this site and if it cannot meet that purpose anymore there may come a time where it is simply time to call it a day on Facebook. That will be a decision for 2020 though.

Finally I want to thank those of you who are reading this far into the post. You are the people who actually read and engage with all of my content rather than coming, reading the 2nd paragraph of the spoiler post, and then going away again. You are also probably the people who had a far easier time entering the password competition this series 😂

So that’s it for the annual thanks post. Don’t forget there is still The Christmas Special Spoiler available for your viewing delight and the normal discussion/poll posts and spoiler posts will be coming later on tonight too. All that remains is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020 when The Strictly Spoiler will be back. Assuming the BBC don’t do anything crazy like a live results show!

Site Migration Complete

Well it took me a little longer than I originally expected due to an assortment of issues and errors on my part but I think we have got there and the site has been moved to the new servers ready for when the spoilers start rolling in!

If any of you have any issues using the site or things like the comments system or voting in polls you can let me know on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll take a look but hopefully all should be good now after a lot of teething issues yesterday and this morning and the songs/dances post for week 2 was posted to the new servers earlier today with no reported issues so all is looking good!

This solution allows me to deploy additional or more powerful web and database servers as and when required on a Saturday night/Sunday and then drop the power when the site is quieter during the week which worked quite well last series. I’ve also managed to tweak the database server settings so that load on the site is distributed across multiple database servers depending on whether you are reading from the database (which most of you will be) or writing to it (which you will do if you use the polls or comments system) which should help out massively at peak times too and is an improvement on 2018 when I had to chuck ridiculously high powered servers at the database to keep it running.

This solution not cheap though and last year it cost about £300 per month which was funded by generous donations from the site’s visitors who helped to support me and the website and this year is no different. If you can afford to and want to help me out with these costs or if you just want to buy me a cool refreshing beer to thank me for all the hard work I do and the spoilers you can do so using THIS LINK or the button below or see below for additional ways to support me including ways of making a donation without me attracting any fees as I do through Paypal.

Or you can support me for free, save money on your energy bills and earn yourselves £50 if you check your prices and switch using MY LINK. Bulb will pay your exit fees, don’t charge any exit fees themselves and have 100% green energy at low prices. Win for the planet and win for your pocket!

You can also read about the numerous other ways you can support me and the work I do including more free ways to support me and additional ways to make a cash donation (which will not charge me like Paypal do) HERE