You may have noticed a donation button appearing on Strictly Spoiler posts now and may be wondering what it is and why it is there. The following should serve as some frequently asked questions.
Why are you asking for donations?
Truth be told operating and maintaining this site is becoming a full time job for me and the revenue I receive from the current advertising is not enough to pay a full time wage especially as that income is highly seasonal. The site also has increasing hosting costs as traffic to the site increases and those costs are incurred all year round. I also now have to use a cluster of scalable load balanced web servers to keep the site up at peak times and this hosting solution costs me £300 a month during the months when Strictly is on.
I’ve seen a few people in my social media comments suggest they would be willing to pay a nominal fee to access the site and the donation button is a way of catering to these people
Does this mean you are charging to access this site either now or in the future?
Absolutely not. I’m a huge believer in web content being free and the abject failure when newspapers tried to hide their content behind paywalls show that paywalls do not work. If I was to implement a paywall all 99.9% of the traffic this site receives would do is go somewhere else and I’m not about to do that.
The donation button is simply that, a donation button. If you want to donate and can afford to do so it would be really appreciated and help me out. If you don’t want to or can’t afford to that’s ok too.
There is not an expectation on any of the site’s visitors to donate and I certainly won’t be requiring it for access to this site. It is entirely optional!
Donations could also be a way for people using any kind of adblocking software to hide the ads the site displays to contribute towards the site.
If I choose to donate will I receive any kind of incentive?
This is something I can look at depending on how many people actually decide to use the donation button. I suspect it won’t be a lot in the grand scheme of things as 99.9% of the site’s traffic come, read the 2nd paragraph of the spoiler post and then go away again.
I certainly couldn’t run any competitions or offer additional entries into the existing competitions for donations as we would be entering the realms of a lottery then which would be a whole legal minefield for me.
One thing I could look at is possibly removing all of or most of the adverts on the site for any users making a regular donation. Again this would depend on just how well the donation button is used and whether my advertising software will allow this. Some adverts couldn’t be removed as they are served by the blogging software itself and the comments system and are out of my control.
I could also look at using something like kickstarter to raise funds which would allow me to provide incentives or sites like patreon which allow you to make monthly contributions towards content producers such as myself and again that would allow me to look at incentives too.
What will donations be used for?
It’s hard to say specifically. Some will be put back into the site and pay for hosting costs and go towards things like the competition prizes. Others will be simply treated as income and go towards general living expenses.
Your donations will help to fund me and the work I do. I operate on a self employed basis and this is my only job and any donations received will be passed through my annual self employed accounts with tax and NI paid on my profits as required by HMRC.
At the moment the main goal of the donation button is to help pay for the web hosting during the 2018 series. Towards the end of last series I migrated the website to a dedicated load balanced cluster of web servers which allowed me to keep the site up at peak times by increasing the power of the servers or creating additional servers at times of heavy load. This solution, which will be required again during the 2018 series, costs approximately £300 per month and whilst the adverts do help to support that, I also have to take an income out of the revenue this site receives as this site is my main income, especially while I am studying at university.
I’d like to donate. How can I?
Use the button below and you can make a one off donation of any amount of your choosing or set up a regular monthly recurring donation. All donations are handled through Paypal but you don’t need an account with them to donate. A few people have reported that the donate button doesn’t work for them. If that’s the case then this link will work (and even better Paypal wont take a cut through that link)
Again can I stress there is no obligation on you to donate if you don’t want to or can’t afford to and whether you donate or not will not affect your ability to access this site. It is entirely optional!
I will be adding more options for donation during 2018 and can also provide my business banking details on request should anyone want to make a one off donation or set up a regular donation by bank transfer.
I’m also looking at possibly providing a PO Box for anyone who wishes to send in donations by cheque/postal order (payable to “The Strictly Spoiler”) although this will also attract a cost per month which may make it not worth it and the other donation options would be preferable