YouTube’s lately been plagued with an “unsubscribe” glitch of sorts, which the company itself has denied as existing or showing evidence of existence. The glitch is pretty straight-forward:
A user is subscribed to a channel and receives content updates through push notifications
The user views a video from a channel thought to be subscribed
The user realizes that the “unsubscribe” button (indicating an active subscription) is now listed as a “subscribe” button. This means that the user is not subscribed.
In our brief testing, it seems that YouTube may have some merit to its statements. Although the button reverts to its unsubscribed graphic, we were still receiving push notifications for channels thought to be unsubscribed. It seems that this may be purely graphical, as the channel content is still going out to users.
That said, we’ve seen several complaints and reports of users (including our sponsored gamers – see our gaming sponsorship program here) suddenly becoming unsubscribed from a beloved channel, and additionally losing visibility to said channel’s videos in any sort of feed. In part, this is because YouTube’s current setup does not favor elevating subscriptions, but seems to instead elevate promoted videos, videos rising in popularity (but without any link to the user – e.g. not from known, subscribed channels), and advertisement videos.
The best way to combat these changes to the YouTube push notifications seems to be to ask your fans and viewers to “bell” you. There’s a new bell icon located adjacent to the subscribe icon. By clicking on this icon and enabling receipt of updates, the user will (for sure) receive all push updates from the channel, regardless of update frequency. This is like adding two steps to subscribe, and seems to help channel visibility.