Site Migration Complete

Took a bit longer than I originally expected but the site should now be back up for most users!

Some elements of the site move had to be done manually and also it took a while for the change of host to spread throughout the internet. Some people may still be pointing to the old host (virgin media in particular seem to be slow at updating their DNS) in which case they’ll see an “origin DNS” error rather than this post. This should clear up in the next few hours.

Thanks to everyone who donated using the donation button who made this site move possible. Whilst I didn’t manage to get a dedicated server I’ve done the next best thing which is something called a VPS. My new host also claims that under my package I should be able to cope with 300million page views a month. Maybe not test that too thoroughly but we’ll see how we go at the weekend.

The site will remain with this host now until the end of the series then I plan to move it back to a cheaper solution during the quieter period as I don’t really fancy paying £70 a month to host the site when cheaper solutions will be fine while Strictly isn’t on.

Donations will remain open and if you want to help out with next years hosting costs or simply want to buy me a pint you can donate using the button below (paypal will take a cut) or this link (all money goes to me)

Strictly Spoiler 2017 Update

Really thought I’d done the last one of these posts but once again I need to talk about the site outages that have been occurring for the last couple of weeks late on a Saturday Night.

Once again the site is going down at peak times and once again the reasons for this simply boil down to there being tens of thousands of you all trying to get on the site at once many of whom are refreshing the site every few seconds which is overloading it.

And believe me overloading the site is taking quite some work with the current web host I use. The site has a few sophisticated technologies working behind the scenes designed to try and prevent just this. It employs server level caching technology and a content delivery network both of which are designed to speed the site up and cache content which is served from a number of different locations spreading the load so not just one server is hit at times of high traffic. But at one point last night over 37k of you were trying to access the site at the same time and if 37k of you were trying to refresh the site constantly it’s no wonder it fell down.

Unfortunately it’s an issue with high traffic websites such as this that sometimes at times of high demand they will go down. Apple, who are a company with far more resources than me, can’t always keep their website up when a new iPhone goes on sale. My original source for the spoiler which is a popular commercial discussion forum has gone down on occasions. If these huge companies struggle to keep their sites up at moments of high demand you can imagine the struggle that an individual with far more limited resources has.

Those of you who have been around from the start will know that I really don’t like having site outages and have moved the site 3 times already to progressively more expensive hosting solutions to keep up with demand. The site has gone from costing me £3 a month to host to nearer £40 a month and these costs are incurred all year round yet I only make any kind of decent revenue from the site at the times of the year when Strictly is on, and as the children in need spoiler showed I don’t make much during the week when Strictly is on either, just at the weekend.

I try and put as much of the site’s revenue back into the site as I possibly can, both to cover hosting costs and for things like competition prizes, but I have to draw a line somewhere. This site is now the main income I receive and I’m a single parent and a full time postgraduate student and I simply don’t have much money that can be ploughed into this. The next step up in terms of hosting, which would be purchasing a dedicated server just for this site, is going to move from costing me tens of pounds a month to host to hundreds and quite frankly I can’t afford that at the moment especially considering we only have 3 spoiler weekends left this series.

These issues started this series when I started doing real time updates as I’d been learning the bottom two first followed by the result and so my only solution at this time is to stop doing that. The whole point of the real time updates was that you could see the bottom two and then head back to Facebook or Twitter and wait for the full spoiler post to come in. It wasn’t so people could refresh the site multiple times every second causing it to break but all they seem to have done is encourage people to do just that.

The other thing I can do is to ask people to be more considerate of other users. I understand the need to refresh the site, honestly I do because I do it at my sources so I can get the spoiler to you as soon as possible, but really there’s no need. Head to Facebook or Twitter and you’ll be alerted as to when the spoiler comes in without any need for refreshing this site. And if the site does go down or starts running slowly just leave it for a few minutes, go make a brew, walk the dog, nip down the pub for a quick pint and try again later or in the morning. Don’t keep refreshing a site that is struggling because people are refreshing it because that obviously isn’t going to help. I don’t want to start handing bans out but I can check my logs to see how often individual people are refreshing the site and ban those who are repeatedly refreshing it in a way that impacts on the user experience for far more other visitors.

It probably sounds like I’m blaming the site visitors and I’m not. I continue to be amazed just how many of you come to view content I produce each week but I cannot keep ploughing money that I don’t have into the site trying to keep up with the strains you guys are putting on it when a small change in user behaviour would probably help dividends. Beyond that we’d be looking at a paywall which would categorically never happen because paywalls don’t work and you’d just go elsewhere. The other alternative is asking for donations to help towards hosting costs in a similar way to Wikipedia but honestly I don’t know how effective that would be but you know what let’s give it a try and see what happens and maybe, just maybe, I can afford a dedicated server these last few weeks.

Strictly Spoiler 2017 – Note To Editors

Well here we are again. The 2017 series of Strictly has barely begun, I’ve not even posted a results spoiler yet just the pairings one and already I’m getting attention from the media this time not for being a festive grinch and posting the Christmas Special results in November but this time for socking it to the BBC and defying them by continuing to post spoilers to this site ruining the show for millions.

I honestly thought I’d covered why I do what I do and why this site exists in the about section and in my last note to editors but here we are again. The newspapers clearly spotted the about page this time as the Daily Star quoted from it and then The Sun incorrectly assumed that I’d spoken to The Daily Star. I haven’t. The only newspaper I have ever spoken to about this site has been The Daily Mail and there’s a very good reason for that. They asked me for comment last December and were the only media organisation to approach me for comment – well besides TalkRadio. More on that in a moment.

So here are some more frequently asked questions which will hopefully address some of the questions people or journalists have.

Why does this site exist?

Well that’s an easy question. Because there is a user demand for it. Initially I posted the spoiler to my own personal blog as a means of providing the results to a few hundred followers on twitter without the need to send multiple direct messages to avoid spoiling the results publicly. And for 2 years during the 2012 series and the 2013 series thats all the traffic I received.

Then in 2014 something quite unexpected happened. Those few hundred page views over a Strictly weekend turned in to a few thousand and then a few tens of thousands. This new traffic was coming from google searches for a number of keywords which my blog had suddenly become top on the search rankings for. This took me by surprise and at times completely melted the cheap web hosting solution I was using at the time as the site struggled to keep up with demand.

As 99.9% of my blog traffic was coming just to view the Strictly Spoiler results I was posting and also partly due to some competition sites cropping up I made the decision to migrate the content to its own domain name where it has been since late 2014. The site has also continued to grow its user base and over the course of the last series nearly half a million people viewed the site at one time or another.

Put quite simply if there wasn’t a demand for what I do, this site either would not exist or would not exist in its present form.

Why are you spoiling the results for all Strictly viewers?

I’m not! I firmly believe that both groups of viewers, those who like to wait for the results show and those who don’t want to wait for the results can live together in harmony. This site is clearly identified as a spoiler website: the clue is in the name for one. Whenever I post the spoiler to Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else I do so as a link to this site people are free to click on or not. I encourage all discussion of the spoiler on Twitter to be limited to the #StrictlySpoiler hashtag and I provide a Facebook page and a comments system on this site where people can discuss the spoiler without risking spoiling the result for others. I also encourage and incentivise discussion to take place in these places only by providing competition prizes for commenters each week.

There are other people who will plaster the results publicly for all to see. It is these people who are spoiling the results for all strictly viewers and not me.

Why are you anti BBC?

Actually I’m not. I love the BBC and a lot of what they do. I think the license fee provides excellent value for money for the many shows and services the BBC provides.

But the BBC can make stupid decisions from time to time. They commissioned Don’t Scare The Hare for one thing! Strictly Come Dancing is the BBC’s flagship reality show (especially now Bake Off is on Channel 4) and is the main part of their Autumn/Winter schedules and has been for years. I honestly cannot believe the BBC think it is a good idea to pre record the results of Strictly and broadcast them a full day after the event and then wonder why the results leak out on sites like this. We live in a day and age where information can be transmitted globally in a fraction of a second. Indeed when the spoiler comes in it only takes me a few seconds to post it to this site and alert my Facebook and Twitter followers.

I appreciate it may seem like I’m on a one man crusade against the BBC but I’m not. Actually the BBC have had more of a crusade against me than I have them such as when they had Facebook remove my Facebook Page for extremely spurious reasons. Yes I would love for the BBC to do a live results show and that is one of the goals of this site but they will never do that as for some reason they care about ratings even though they’d make no extra money whether 10 people tune in or 10 million. Which leads me on to….

Why are you taking viewers away from the results show?

Again I’m not. Many of this site’s users still watch the results show, myself included. We just prefer watching it knowing the results in advance. It doesn’t take away our enjoyment of the show and as we don’t share the spoiler with people who don’t want to know the results we don’t take away their enjoyment either.

I’ve actually had a number of comments from people who say reading the spoiler enhances their enjoyment of the results show. I’ve also had comments saying that the way the BBC dramatises and drags the results out causes them anxiety and that’s why they view the spoiler as then they aren’t dragged out over 45 minutes. As a sufferer of anxiety too that makes a lot of sense to me and may be why I choose to view, and then disseminate, the spoiler.

As long as we are considerate towards those who like to wait there is no reason why we can’t enjoy the show in any way we see fit.

Don’t you have anything better to do?

Truthfully yes I do. I could actually sit down and watch a show I love and actually get to enjoy it without having to work. But I choose to work because as a single father of two children who I have to provide for and a student frankly I need the additional income that this job provides even though it isn’t much at all especially when you consider it is highly seasonal income and a lot of the revenue I receive gets put back in to the site to pay for ever increasing hosting costs or competition prizes. As of yet I have not recorded a profit on my end of year accounts

And you’ll notice I refer to this as a job and work because it is becoming like that. Throughout the live shows rather than being able to sit down and enjoy the show I’m sat with my laptop posting content to Facebook and Twitter for my followers and getting things on the site ready for various points in the show. And the work isn’t just during the show. During the week I post news such as the Songs/Dances or any other news I can. Before the show I’m pre-typing the content ready to go out during the live show, after the show I’m moderating the many hundreds of comments on here, twitter and facebook and also monitoring my site traffic and making sure the site stays up when traffic spikes around spoiler time. And I’m monitoring various sources for the spoiler so I can get it posted quickly to this site as soon as it comes in.

Put frankly I put a lot of work into doing what I do and operating and maintaining this site and yes there are a ton of better things I could be doing with my time but we all have to work to make a living.

Finally I just want to post a few of the comments that have been posted to the article on The Sun’s facebook page in response to their article. Not that anyone should take too much notice of anything The Sun has to say but still its lovely when people are talking about you like this.

Obviously it’s not worth addressing the comments too much even though I have addressed a lot of what they’ve said in my comments above but I don’t need this kind of stress, abuse and grief for providing a service that is clearly wanted otherwise no one would visit this site. Frankly 2017 has already been a difficult year me what with completing a bachelors degree, dealing with the break up of my relationship and tomorrow I am about to start a masters degree. Add into that I suffer from Anxiety and Depression (and I’ve had to turn down an interview with Paul Ross on TalkRadio tomorrow morning which would have been good exposure for the site because I wouldn’t have been able to cope due to my anxiety) and quite frankly I don’t need this crap making me ill when all I am doing is trying to earn a wage to support my family and provide a service to hundreds of thousands of people who want me to provide this service and actively seek it out.

Complaints to anyone as long as its not me!