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YouTube’s notorious notifications issue is acting up again (update)

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It’s not just your channel

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Opens I/O Developer Conference Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

YouTube creators have contended with one annoying glitch that reappears in mass waves every few years. It occurred in 2014, then again in 2016 and is happening right now.

Creators with large subscriber bases (anything over 100,000 subscribers) have noticed reduced view counts on their videos that stem from subscribers not being notified of a new video. (Editor’s note: I can personally confirm that I stopped receiving notifications for new videos from at least two of the YouTubers I subscribe to.) In the past few months, YouTubers like Keemstar, PewDiePie, Sam Sheffer and more have posted videos outlining the issue or responding to fans on Twitter trying to understand why their view counts are dropping.

On Twitter, Keemstar alleged that the issue with videos not being sent to subscribers had to do with demonetization, which was met with agreement and frustration from other YouTubers, like PewDiePie. PewDiePie noted the big problem with this predicament was losing the “spring launch effect on the video.”

It’s unclear if demonetization plays a role in this issue, but Polygon has reached out to YouTube for comment on the situation. A YouTube spokesperson told TubeFilter in 2016 that subscriber counts could fluctuate as the company deals with bot or spam accounts, but that doesn’t address the main issue creators are complaining about.

YouTube is in the process of changing how videos on the platform are filtered, which are approved as ad friendly and what type of content is appearing on the site in general. This comes after a wave of YouTubers were hit with demonetization problems, which the community refers to as the “adpocalypse,” and YouTube is trying to make right. The company is in a difficult position as it tries to ensure that both advertisers and the millions of creators on the platform are happy, which has led to some unfortunate bugs.

Again, YouTubers have spoken about encountering this snafu time and time again, asking YouTube for more transparency with what’s happening on the site. Many YouTubers rely on the revenue made from AdSense income on daily videos to support themselves. AdSense works by measuring the metrics in two areas: impressions and clicks. Impressions refers to how many people are watching the video, while clicks calculates how many people actually interact with the ad on screen.

In 2016, gadget YouTuber Matthias published a video examining the topic. Matthias said “YouTube also has a tendency to not show videos to those not engaging with your chain.” Matthias explained that YouTube is “afraid that since so many people subscribe to so many channels, their viewers are going to suffer from information overload and just stop coming altogether.”

This, Matthias said, means that not only is YouTube making it more difficult for new users to stumble upon videos, but YouTube is also “not showing [videos] to the viewers who want to watch your content.”

If you’re affected by the subscriber notification malfunction, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Polygon will update the story once we have more information from YouTube.

Update: A YouTube representative confirmed to Polygon that the search and discovery system operates separately from the monetization system. Subscribers should see videos in their feed. The full statement can be read below.

Our Search & Discovery and Monetization systems operate independently. Whenever a creator uploads a video to their channel, all subscribers will see the video in the subs feed and are eligible to receive notifications, regardless of the monetization status of that video.