We fixed YouTube subscriptions. For reals.

TL;DR: We are proud to introduce Subscribe Plus – a workaround for the alleged YouTube subscriber bug. Sign up and get a notification whenever you get unsubscribed!

YouTubers say there is a problem

For the last few years YouTubers have talked about involuntary unsubscribes (IUs), being unsubscribed from a channel without their consent. Published reports of IUs date back to The Daily Dot’s 2012 article, “YouTube’s unsubscribe bug ends tonight” but the article’s tagline spells out the end result: “The video-sharing site still denies the bug ever existed.”

Until the top YouTuber spoke out

Felix a.k.a. PewDiePie, the top YouTube channel by every metric, validated other creators when he detailed the IU problem (which he personally claims to have experienced) in a video this December, along with a promise to delete his channel when he hit 50 million subscribers.


Creators jump on board

Other top channels including h3h3 Productions and Pyrocynical weighed in, diving deep into the perceived problems on the platform and bringing the discussion to the forefront.

h3h3Productions: YouTube is Not Being Honest with Us


YouTube responded…

In a pretty unprecedented (but very cool) move, YouTube released a video response. Two YouTube employees, including user experience researcher Renato and subscriptions product manager Zindzi, take some time to explain the problem as it has been described and what they’ve been doing to replicate the bug so that they can find and fix it. The video spells out some interesting details about YouTube policy, but unfortunately the takeaway is that they haven’t found any evidence of the alleged problem.

…and the community fired back

The video was not well received by creators or fans – 89k dislikes with only 2k likes on under 400k views, plus dozens of disapproving response videos from the community. PewDiePie didn’t end up deleting his main channel (he deleted a secondary channel) but Philip DeFranco, one of the long-time top producers on the platform and an entreprenuer in his own right, responded to YouTube’s explanation and to the video’s tone.

YouTube Help: Let’s talk about subscriptions

Philip DeFranco: YouTube Responds to Huge Subscriber Issue… Kinda, But Not Really…

What now?

We don’t have a reason to believe that YouTube would lie about how subscriptions work, and no reason to believe PewDiePie and every other user who spoke out are lying about IUs. With outright lies off the table it seems extremely plausible to us that one of three things are happening:

  1. There exists one or more bug in YouTube which sometimes causes IUs
  2. Users are accidentally unsubscribing without noticing it
  3. A different kind of bug, inside or outside of YouTube

We have our guesses, but we’re a data company so we don’t really like to just guess.

So we’re fixing subscriptions

To help solve the problem, we’re working around it. We came up with Subscribe Plus as a solution to monitor your subscriptions. Now when an IU strikes you’ll be ready.

We monitor your subscritions

We’ll let you know with an email like this one if we notice you unsubscribe from any channels.

When you get a notification from us just click No if you didn’t intend to unsubscribe and we’ll get you re-subscribed!

Never miss an unsubscribe

Author: Kevin Khandjian

@thewebguy Kevin is Head of Operations at VidStats and loves YouTube, statistics, cartoons and fried rice!

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