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

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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!

Children In Need Spoiler – Note To Editors

I’m honestly developing a sense of deja vu here. Once again The Strictly Spoiler is becoming the subject of news articles in some newspapers and this time their moral objections have turned to the Children In Need Spoiler that was posted to this site a couple of weekends ago.

This is only the 2nd year that the Children In Need spoiler has been posted to this site and actually I had reservations before posting it last year considering this site is operated for profit and there is a potential moral issue from posting information about a charity special on a commercial site. However I decided last year that I would simply donate any revenue received from posting the Children In Need Spoiler to Children In Need.

The site made about £9 last year from the CiN Spoiler. Because Children In Need is a very worthy cause and one I was happy to support and a donation of £9 would have been a bit silly in my opinion I upped it to £20. And because I cannot claim gift aid on my charity donations I paid that too and donated £25. I made the exact same offer when I posted the spoiler this year but some newspapers seemed to completely miss that (quite important) detail in my spoiler post. In actual fact I was going to donate £50 this year however that changed (see below).

When the articles hit yesterday making out that by posting the Children In Need Special results I was taking viewers away from the telethon and therefore depriving it of donations I was genuinely upset by these allegations. Firstly its complete baloney! The CiN special is a small 20 minute part of a telethon that lasts the whole night. If the press think that just because people know that generic Boyzone member C won the charity special that it will stop them watching and stop them donating to a very worthy cause then the press are more deluded than I thought. Shouldn’t be too surprised though. The story originated from a newspaper (and I use that term very loosely) that last year claimed in big bold letters on the front page (because no other important world events were happening) that Strictly was in crisis because of me leaking the results for the not live results show. Again baloney!!

I’m far from a rich man especially with two sons to support and I’m a full time student at the moment but I do my bit to support charities when I can. In my younger days when I was involved in student rag I spent many a Saturday stood on the streets of Edinburgh, Glasgow and a number of other cities shaking a bucket trying to raise money for causes such as cancer research, help the aged and countless other good causes and when the media started to make out that by posting the spoiler I was depriving money from Children In Need my knee jerk reaction was to think “right I’ll show you”. So I donated £100 to Children In Need yesterday. So if you want to argue that some good came from the negative press I suppose you can. It doubled the donation I was intending on making to a very worthy cause.

As far as me posting the results for the Children In Need special it’s just like the Christmas Special (when I get labelled a grinch out to ruin Christmas) or the regular show. I run and operate a spoiler website for Strictly Come Dancing and my site’s visitors crave spoilers and I source and provide them with as many spoilers as I can lay my hands on. Even though I post the Children In Need Spoiler and the Christmas Special Spoiler to be perfectly honest not that many people view them when compared to the main series spoiler. The CiN spoiler has been viewed 25k times. Tops! The main series spoiler receives over 300k views at the weekend. Not many people care that Generic Boyzone Member C won the special but I’m still providing the service for those who do care.

Truthfully I’m amazed that newspapers still consider this site to be newsworthy. It was Remembrance Sunday yesterday which is another hugely important day and good cause to raise money for. The papers should have really been focusing on that because it is really important that we remember those who lost their lives fighting for us during the wars. I’ve also covered this countless times before in countless other posts responding to press articles in past and truthfully whilst the newspapers seem to like repeating themselves by rehashing old stories they’ve published previously I don’t. Not to mention with how lazy journalism is these days that once one newspaper publishes a story 6 others copy and paste the article changing about 2 words and republish it themselves.

Some elements of the press have been previously willing to engage with me and approach me for comments or my side of a story. The Daily Mail approached me for comment about a story 2 or 3 years ago on Twitter. I provided one and whilst I don’t normally agree with a lot of what The Daily Mail publishes I will give them credit where it is due and they published my comment accurately. I’ve also done an email interview with Sarah Deen of The Metro and again she published my comments pretty much word for word. I did these interviews or provided these comments for one very important reason……. they asked me! Interestingly I offered to give my email address to the journalist who wrote the original article for The Daily Star so they could contact me for comment the next time they had a slow news day. They declined (well ignored actually) the offer.

Truthfully, and I’ll be honest, I hate being the centre of attention like this when all I am doing is operating a popular website and providing a service to those who visit the site. Running this site during the winter months is like a full time job too (just not as well paid). I suffer badly with anxiety disorder and crap like this isn’t helping which then has a knock on effect to other parts of my life like university

Not only that but some newspapers are taking copyrighted content from this website, taking it out of context and using it to support whatever agenda their articles are promoting this week. That is going to stop. Normally Newspapers have an exemption to copyright when content is used for the purposes of reporting news however there is an important proviso. A sufficient acknowledgment to the original copyrighted work must be given. For the avoidance of any doubt a sufficient acknowledgement for me and my work must include the following:

  1. My name Dave Thorp, spelt correctly – The Star incorrectly attributed my content yesterday to a Dave Thorpe whoever the hell that is
  2. The name of this website, The Strictly Spoiler
  3. Most importantly, a link to this website

Should any of my content be used without a sufficient acknowledgement as detailed above an invoice will be raised at my standard rates. I am more than willing to engage with the media and provide them with comments should they think this site is newsworthy, not that I agree it is, and I have done before to media organisations. But I am no longer willing to be made out to be something I’m not, have my words twisted and frankly I am not willing to have my health suffer just because I’m doing something that some newspapers would love to be able to do themselves but they can’t because they wouldn’t get invited to any cool BBC events anymore. Enough is enough.

Finally I just want to thank everyone who supported me on Twitter especially this morning when I think I showed just how upset and frustrated I was getting in a tweet early this morning. I then managed to get a couple of hours sleep and woke up to a flood of tweets in support which was very nice to wake up to. So thank you guys!

Complaints to The Daily Star and others