Well it’s that time again. This series has flown by, partly due to it being 4 weeks shorter, and its time that I do my annual post talking about the year for The Strictly Spoiler and thanking those who have contributed to another successful year for this site.
Like most of this year it’s been an odd one due to the ongoing pandemic. I’ll be brutally honest, going into this series I was panicking somewhat. The loss of 4 weeks of the series meant I’d potentially lost 1/3 of my annual income before the series even began. There was uncertainty around whether a spoiler would be possible in the event of no audiences and I was bricking it. This is my job, it’s a commercially run business that generates the majority of my annual income over the space of 3 months normally and like so many others I was worried about my livelihood.
The series began and it was looking like things would be as normal. There was an audience and a mole approached me for the first elimination. Then Boris dropped a bombshell with lockdown 2.0 (and later lockdown 2.1). Audience moles were gone for at least 4 weeks (actually 5).
I’d been preparing for this however. I had a plan! Which brings in the exit poll. I’ll be talking more about that in a bit. But during the first week of lockdown 2.0 something wondrous, magical and amazing happened. Two people approached me with access to a reliable, confirmed source of the spoiler. I can’t talk too much about where these sources are obtaining the spoiler from other to say it is cast iron, guaranteed and impossible to be incorrect. Frankly these two people have been absolute godsends and mean it is now possible to get a confirmed spoiler even with no audience, no moles and no other form of leaks. Which helped out no end.
Without these two people we wouldn’t have had confirmed results for most of this series and to show my and the community’s appreciation I’ll be sending one of them a little Christmas gift and the other one declined a gift but accepted an offer to make a donation to a charity of their choice for which they selected Cancer Research UK which I am obviously happy to support especially with the difficulty some people are having accessing cancer treatment at the moment due to the NHS’ priorities being elsewhere.
Moving on I want to talk about the exit poll. I freely admit it’s been hit and miss. This was to be expected and most of you who actually read my content rather than skipping to the good bits will have seen countless warnings all over it. That didn’t stop some people on my social channels, and even some groups I’ve worked with previously, just looking at the bottom two and taking it as read that those were the results that I was putting forward without taking the context into consideration. Most of you got it though and understood that it was a prediction, a guide and something to keep the really impatient people content until Sunday lunchtime when the confirmed results tended to appear. Those of you who looked at the bigger picture would have gotten more out of the exit poll and seen that even when it was wrong, the other participant in the dance off was usually hovering just above the drop zone.
So thank you to those of you who took the exit poll as it was intended. It was an experiment that worked some weeks and didn’t work others (which was expected) and in the end it became redundant because I was obtaining confirmed results elsewhere anyway.
I also want to take a few moments to talk about the various monetisation methods available on this site starting with the adverts. No one likes adverts but they are a necessary evil especially on high traffic sites like this one as the servers required to keep it operating most of the time don’t run cheap. In addition as I’ve mentioned before this is my job, I receive the bulk of my annual income during the three months, well two months this year, that Strictly is on for and nearly all of that comes from the adverts. I don’t talk too much about how much I make from this site for obvious commercially sensitive reasons however it’s taken a long time to get to the point where I can take a full time wage, albeit at more or less minimum wage, from this with 2019 being the first year that happened.
So when the pandemic hit and Strictly was announced to be shorter if it ran at all I was panicking! So many people have had their livelihoods ruined in 2020 and I was worried that I would become another statistic. And whist I have earned less this year than 2019 that loss isn’t the 30-40% I was projecting at the start of the series but is now projected to be more like 10-15% depending on how the final spoiler weekend goes.
In addition this year saw me strike my first advertising deal directly rather than just having the usual google ads. You will have no doubt seen adverts for my friend Ewan’s Eurovision Podcast all over posts this series and hopefully a few of you have gone to sign up to listen to his insights on Eurovision. I know a lot of you on Twitter have enjoyed my commentary over the years and I’m sure you’ll enjoy Ewan’s too especially since he actually gets to go to the song contest! So please check it out and thanks Ewan for your support this series! You can also follow him on twitter if you’d like to check out his Eurovision and other ramblings.
Moving onto donations and this is another revenue stream I thought would dry up this year with the way things are and with many people out of work or furloughed. As always I stress that donations should only be done if you can afford it and there is zero obligation on anyone to make a direct financial donation and in 2020 that’s more important than ever! This site remains, and will always remain, free to access.
The donations help me out with my ever spiralling hosting costs which this year have been crazier than ever with me needing to run my servers at high power levels on a Sunday now as many of you realised that it was only on Sunday mornings that confirmed results were coming through. This year they’ve also helped with my cash flow a bit as normally I’d receive a decent payment from my google ads in November but this year the first decent payment will be around Christmas due to the late start. In addition my hosting bill for November was an eye watering £550 this year when in previous years they have been more like £330 so thank you to everyone who has supported me this series.
If you want to get a last minute donation in, want to buy me a pint (when I can actually go to the pub – damn you tier 3) or a Christmas Present, or just want to thank me for continuing to produce a spoiler for you in what has been a difficult series you can do so using THIS LINK or using the button below:
Next there’s the patreon page that I launched in 2020. There’s currently 10 of you on there which is 10 more than I was expecting with nothing more than a warm fuzzy feeling on offer. For obvious reasons I haven’t had the time to put as much into that page as I should have as my focus has been on continuing to operate in lockdown, however it is near the top of my list of priorities of things to work on and I’ll be looking into what I can offer through that besides the warm fuzzy feelings during 2021. If warm fuzzy feelings are your bag you can still sign up to the page here!
Finally there’s energy switches. These are something I started doing last year as my energy supplier at the time did referrals and my current one does them too so I’ve been pushing them. And you guys have responded this year. Enough of you have switched earning both of us £50 in the process that my energy bills are now fully paid up for the next year which when I receive the bulk of my earnings while Strictly is on is a big deal as its allowed me to set my direct debit at £1 and have one less bill to worry about going in to 2021. So a huge thanks for those of you who have switched. If you still want to get involved there, potentially save yourself a fortune, earn us both £50 and join a Which Recommended supplier you can do so using my magic link! Please ensure you complete the switch through the link and don’t just get an email quote which you return to later as neither of us will get our £50 if you do that. Also don’t forget to enter their competition to win an electric car if you have switched. You should find it on your account dashboard and may have got an email about it this week too.
So that concludes another year for the Strictly Spoiler barring the final elimination this weekend and of course the final next weekend. All that remains is for me to wish you all as merry a Christmas as you can have in the current climate and hopefully 2021 is a vast improvement on 2020.