Strictly Spoiler 2016 Thanks

It’s that time again! We’re approaching the final spoiler of the series and it’s the point where I like to take a few minutes to say a few words to thank all the people that have contributed to another successful year for The Strictly Spoiler.

The last few years have been completely wild. I won’t bore you all with the same story as previous years but The Strictly Spoiler has once again grown massively in 2016. At its peak this year (at time of posting) The Strictly Spoiler has received almost 350,000 views from 110,000 individual people over the course of the busiest weekends. This whole year (again at time of posting) the site has received almost 2,500,000 views from over 400,000 individuals which is just crazy! I want to thank each and every single one of you who comes to the site and reads the content I produce each week.

One way I’ve been thanking you is through the regular competitions. This series is the first series I’ve been able to afford to run regular weekly competitions thanks to the ad revenue this site receives. I originally budgeted £500 for these competitions but I’ve gone a little crazy and by the end of this series I will have given away nearly £650 worth of prizes. I wish I could reward each and every one of you for your support of this site but that would of course bankrupt me as there is that many of you! There will be more (and possibly even bigger) competitions during the 2017 series (assuming the BBC don’t do something radical like a live results show)

This series has also seen massive growth in the social networking profiles I operate. Twitter followers have quadrupled this series with nearly 7.5k of you following me (at the time of writing) and Facebook likes have almost trebled with over 4k of you liking the Facebook page (again at the time of writing).  More discussion than ever before has taken place on the social networking profiles and right here in the comments section. I do read all the comments I get here, on Twitter and on Facebook and whilst I can’t possibly reply to every one I get I do try and reply to as many as I can. The vast majority of you have been positive in your discussions with each other and in your comments to me and you can count the number of people I have had to moderate and/or block/ban on one hand!

In a bit of a change I would like to thank the BBC. Firstly for making the decision to broadcast the results a whole day after filming them in a day and age where information can be transmitted globally fairly rapidly which is the whole reason this site exists and has had success but I also want to thank them for another reason. Last year we got wrapped up in a brief dispute over trademark (or more accurately, as their response to an email and a freedom of information request showed, about me posting the results before transmission) which resulted in the removal of one of my social networking profiles.

This year I am pleased to report that they have left me alone (touch wood – unless of course they were responsible for last weekend’s media attention which I know a few of you do think is possible) and I would like to thank them for that. I’m a final year degree student with a family and I’ve got enough going on with project work, my dissertation, my family and juggling running this site and its social channels without having to deal with a legal battle as well. I am truly grateful for the BBC leaving me alone this series and it is my hope that this means they have decided to accept what I do and the service I provide for a small percentage (less than 1% actually) of the people who view Strictly.

I’d also like to take a minute to thank everyone for their support during my appearance online on the websites of several newspapers and magazines last week. As most of you will be aware some elements of the media decided to take issue with my posting of the Christmas Special Spoiler and wrote articles describing me and this site as being a “festive grinch” out to ruin Christmas. I’ve spoken at length about this in my response to the media attention but I would like to add that with one or two exceptions comments here, on Facebook and Twitter and even in the comments sections of the articles themselves have been overwhelmingly positive so thank you all for your kind words!

I would also like to thank my host. I moved hosts before the series started to a solution that should have been able to cope with the spikes this site receives. That failed spectacularly! I then moved hosts again and my current host (plus the Content Delivery Network I now use to take some of the load off my host) has coped brilliantly with the spikes. Anyone looking for a hosting solution for a high traffic wordpress site would do well to look at Dreampress by Dreamhost who are the current hosts for this site. They are a US based company but you don’t need to be based in the US to sign up for them and they also give you a free subscription to Cloudflare who I use as my CDN to cache content and take the strain off my servers.

Most importantly I want to thank my sources. I’ve spoken at length about this before but I don’t actually source the spoiler through any inside contacts or any involvement with the show. 99.9% of the time the spoiler you read is sourced from an internet forum I visit which has a spoiler thread and they arrange for moles in the audience to provide them with the spoiler which I then provide to you. My sources are fine with me doing this and appreciate my honesty about where I source the spoiler from when many others take the spoiler without any form of acknowledgement. Previously a user called “abigailsmum” on that forum organised that thread and did sterling job doing so for many years. She also has some inside contacts so was able to deliver a spoiler often when no mole was sourced.

Unfortunately abigailsmum decided to stand down early this series for personal reasons and her role was taken up by a different user “monaogg”. She too has done a fantastic job this series sourcing moles even on some weeks when it was looking dicey at times but zero hour moles came through for us and has proven to be a worthy successor to abigailsmum despite not having the inside contacts that she did.

I should mention that The Strictly Spoiler has this year become the place where most people now view the spoiler and for the last few weeks has received even more views than the site where I source the spoiler. Although this is cause for celebration and I am pleased to be running the number one source of the spoiler I am of course mindful that my site is not the primary source of the spoiler and quite simply this site would not exist without the forum and the hard work that others put in to source moles so we have a spoiler each week.

As a token of my thanks and appreciation not just on behalf of myself but also the many visitors to this site I would like to arrange to send a thank you bouquet of flowers to both abigailsmum for her work the last few years and monaogg for her work this year and I have contacted them both to try and arrange this and will be sending the flowers sometime after Christmas.

Many on that forum were also incredibly supportive during the media attention of last weekend and again I would like to thank all who posted kind words during that either on the forum or in the comments section of the articles themselves.

2016 has been another amazing year for the Strictly Spoiler and here’s hoping that 2017 will bring more success for the site assuming the BBC don’t do something crazy like a live results show. I will see you all then! Merry Christmas to you all and a happy 2017!

Christmas Special Spoiler – Note To Editors

Well this has been a bizarre day. The Strictly Spoiler has suddenly received a ton of attention from the British media with articles appearing on The Daily Star, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, Now Magazine and I’ve also been approached for comment by the Daily Mail who ran their own (and the most balanced yet) article as I was typing this post.

Many of the articles so far have taken the slant that in posting the Christmas Special results before Christmas I am a grinch trying to ruin Christmas for millions of Strictly Viewers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before I talk about the Christmas Special Spoiler it’s best to take a short while to talk about why this site exists and why I do what I do. A lot of this is covered in the about section linked above but many journalists seemed to have completely missed that.

The Strictly Come Dancing Sunday Results Show is pre recorded on a Saturday Night shortly after the main live show. There exists online spoiler threads on some discussion forums and spoiler groups who source the results usually from audience moles and share them for the benefit of the viewers. Several years ago I was sourcing the spoiler from these groups and direct messaging it to some of my followers on Twitter who wanted to learn the results. Eventually it got to the point where I was spending a lot of time sending these direct messages and so I looked for another way.

I have a personal blog and originally I started posting the spoiler to that blog. Posting the spoiler has also been my way of protesting the decision by the BBC to pre record the results and broadcast them a day after the event. We live in a day and age where information can be transmitted globally in the blink of an eye so it’s stupid to pre record the results and expect them not to leak out. I would love it if the BBC reverted to a Saturday Night live results show but sadly they won’t because the Sunday Night show gets amazing ratings (in spite of what I do). Ratings shouldn’t matter to the BBC but there we are!

I didn’t for one minute think in doing this I would eventually be operating a site viewed by hundreds of thousands of people each week. The popularity this site has received has been entirely accidental (one of my friends jokingly once said I’d created a beast and occasionally it does feel like that) but in 2014 traffic to the site started to spike massively and then it’s grown ever since. Despite the growth less than 1% of people who watch Strictly view the spoiler here and Strictly’s audience is continuing to grow despite the results being out there on sites like this. Even fewer people have viewed the Christmas Special Spoiler which seems to be causing all this fuss.

As far as posting the Christmas Special Spoiler is concerned this is about providing a service to my site’s visitors all of whom are clearly hungry for spoilers. I’m not trying to ruin Christmas or spoil the Christmas Special for all Strictly viewers. The people who view this site are a small minority of the strictly audience but those people have the right to enjoy the show in whatever manner they choose. If people want to watch the show knowing the result that is down to them and their own preference.

It is also extremely difficult for me to spoil the show for anyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled, at least not directly. All my posts are clearly labelled as a spoiler, this site is clearly labelled as a spoiler site and I only ever post spoilers to Facebook or Twitter in the form of a clearly labelled link that people are free to click on or not. I do not post the results publicly to social networking. People have to actively seek out the spoilers I post in order to view them!

Spoilers aren’t a new thing. Many newspapers are frequently telling us about upcoming plot lines for soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street including the Christmas specials. Presumably they too are trying to ruin Christmas? In fact it is deeply ironic that The Daily Mirror, a few hours after calling me a “Festive Grinch” for posting the Christmas Special spoiler, proceeded to post an article with festive spoilers for Coronation Street. Pot, kettle, black anyone?

Hopefully the above clears things up but if any media editors still have questions I suggest they get in touch with me just like the Daily Mail did and I’ll be happy to clear things up

Complaints to the BBC, The Daily Star, The Daily Mirror, The Sun and Now Magazine!

Site Migration Complete

As I discussed towards the end of the last series, I was looking at changing my web hosting once again as the site was starting to struggle to cope with the strains being placed on it around the time the spoiler was posted.

I’m pleased to report that process is now complete and the site is now being hosted with my new host. This will (hopefully) be the last time I need to move this site as my new host provides me with a couple of advantages that should allow me to keep the site up.

Firstly the site is now being run using web server software that is less resource intensive than the previous one so that in itself will help when the site comes under heavy load when the spoiler is posted.

Secondly, and more importantly, the site now has dedicated resources (CPU and RAM) available to it rather than having to share those resources with other sites on the same servers. More importantly I can increase those resources on the fly as and when they are needed (usually about 10pm on a Saturday night when there are tens of thousands of you refreshing the site at the same time).

I’ve tested the site pretty thoroughly before making the switch so there shouldn’t be any issues but if any of you notice anything wrong let me know either in the comments section or over on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll get it sorted. Same applies for when the spoiler is posted if you are having issues let me know and I’ll ramp the resources up. The first couple of spoiler weeks I’ll be trying to find the right balance of resources to cope with the spikes so may have to play around with my settings to get things right but hopefully after that the site should be issue free (touch wood)

I continue to be amazed at just how much this has grown over two short years from receiving a few hundred visits over a Strictly weekend to several hundred thousand towards the end of the last series. I have a feeling that 2016 will blow that out of the water but with any luck the site now will be able to cope just fine!