Substack Bug Inflated Page Views By 100%

Some might say the readers are half empty, but we'd argue the readers are half full

Reader student icon with face in sparkle, dotted halftone and undamaged whole versions. Pieces are a...

It seems Substack — publisher of groundbreaking voices like Bari Weiss, Glenns Loury and Greenwald, and Alison Roman — has been feeding its newsletter writers faulty readership metrics for a month or more.

Specifically, the newsletter purveyor had a bug which double-counted the number of people opening their emails, making it seem that its contributors were reaching up to 100 percent more readers than they actually were. Put another way, Substack’s legion of truth warriors have been going to battle with false intel. News of the bug first broke on Twitter, and was picked up in Study Hall’s digest on Monday.

A source close to Gawker said contributors were informed on Feb. 10, by way of a little box on their homepage:

It’s unclear how long the bug was in effect or what precisely went wrong with their data collection — Substack did not immediately return Gawker’s request for comment. But Gawker’s source estimates it may have started sometime in December. A Twitter user identifying himself as a Substack employee claimed the bug had been active for two months (he did not respond to us either):

In any case, the issue seems to have been fixed now. And the old newsletter biz is roaring. So don’t let one bug be the fly in ointment. You can still buy one of our many domains.