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So that's what's happening
Authored by: Wodgy on Feb 14, '07 06:26:53PM
It's documented here:
http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcaststechspecs.html

Automatic Unsubscribe

iTunes automatically unsubscribes from a podcast if the following conditions are both met:

1. The user has not played any episode downloaded in the past 5 updates (there may be more than one episode downloaded per update.
2. More than 5 days have elapsed since an episode was played.

I suspect this feature is not meant to "save users from themselves" -- it's to defend podcast providers from excessive bandwidth usage. It's a tradeoff that makes podcasting affordable for more people.

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