Welcome to the Supernotes Community, really happy to hear you’re enjoying the experience!
Thanks for opening this! Totally makes sense, this has been mentioned previously by @joplin6167 and others as well:
The character count should also exclude all the Markdown marks as well, such as ** or ==. I’ve renamed this and moved it into feature requests as it’s more of an improvement than a bug. We will up the priority of this, and hopefully get something out soon!
Another way to think about the current system is as a “complexity count” rather than a “character count”. The goal of the system on Supernotes is not to nickel-and-dime people on content, but broadly to encourage breaking up long/complex content into smaller chunks, for various benefits (synthesis, organization, collaboration, etc).
Viewed in this light, it makes sense that a link would count as more characters, as it is a more “complex” structure than just plain text. A card with 100 links is very different from a card with 100 normal sentences.
Also remember that there is a soft-limit and a hard limit. The soft limit can be safely ignored – it is just a gentle nudge and you will probably hit it quite frequently with extended use of Supernotes. The hard limit is 10x the soft-limit, and hopefully you will never hit that limit due to link text counting against the allotment. If you do, it would probably be best to split that content up anyway.
We are already working on a system to better interact with links, so hopefully that will ameliorate this issue, albeit a bit indirectly.