If you sell products online you’ve probably heard of Affiliate Marketing. The Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network, previously Rakuten LinkShare, is a partner of Highstreet.io’s and many of our clients use this network to advertise their products. If you’re interested in how Rakuten LinkShare works then keep reading.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

How does Rakuten LinkShare’s Affiliate Marketing Platform Work?

Rakuten LinkShare rebranded to the Rakuten Affiliate Marketing Network in 2014. When people think of their experience interacting with Rakuten they usually visualize the following process:

  1. When a visitor clicks on a link or ad within an affiliate website they are taken to an advertiser’s page.
    • One scenario could be a visitor looking at product reviews, they clicked on a product and were redirected to an actual product page from the advertiser’s website.
  2. Once the visitor lands on the product page and purchases a product an affiliate tracking link records the transaction.
    • The publisher only gets paid if the product is sold and the buyer originated from the affiliate website. This is called a cost-per-action model otherwise known as a CPA. Commission for publishers vary. Rakuten tracks purchases through website cookies over a certain time period.
  3. The merchant confirms the purchase.
    • The merchant matches the affiliate tracking code to their purchase records.
  4. The transaction is credited to the affiliate website and the affiliate gets paid.
    • Commissions vary depending on the agreement between the advertiser and the publisher.

How do you Become a Rakuten Affiliate Marketing publisher?

Rakuten provides the following options for publishers to select when associating themselves with a website category.

  • Loyalty/Rewards
  • Coupons/Deals
  • General Shopping (virtual mall)
  • Search (advertiser promotion via SEM)
  • Content/Niche, Social Shopping (include reviews & recommendations)
  • User-Generated (Forum, Community, Social Network)
  • Other

To become a Publisher you need to go to the Rakuten Affiliate Marketing Network website to register.

Before you get started, review their set of guidelines to filter quality Rakuten publishers.

How do you Become a Rakuten/Linkshare Affiliate Marketing Advertiser?

The first step is to fill out a request form to be an advertiser on the Rakuten website. Once you share some of your business and website information Linkshare/Rakuten advises that you pick a niche. The more targeted the better.

Rakuten works with advertisers to create an affiliate marketing strategy. They are very adamant in their literature that you work with affiliate publishers that are closely related to your business. The more related their content is to your products, the better your conversions will be. A publisher can also find you and easily click on your advertiser link to find out commission details and apply to advertise your products. You can accept or decline their application.

There are 5 ways advertisers can be found by publishers:

  1. Within the New Advertisers list. This list is usually updated weekly.
  2. Through the Advertisers search when you know the one you’re looking for or a Merchant ID.
  3. From the Deal Dispatcher to see what other advertisers are offering publishers for deals on commissions.
  4. Through Private Offers sent to Affiliate Publishers. The more relevant the better they will work for you.
  5. By reviewing various Product Categories

Once I become an advertiser how do I send my products to affiliate publishers?

Developing a product feed is the next step to getting your products found by affiliate publishers on LinkShare/Rakuten. A robust product feed can help attract higher quality affiliates. If your product data isn’t accurate and/or updated regularly you’ll provide a negative experience for both the potential customer and the publisher which will hurt your affiliate program results. There are product feed specifications you need to follow and a product feed management company can help you create and manage your product feed.


It’s one thing to create a product feed but many times there are issues with certain affiliates not ingesting the feed properly . The Highstreet Platform can quickly troubleshoot  this kind of  issue, making sure your products are displayed as they should.
Contact Us for more information about how we can help with your Rakuten product feed and expand your brand’s & product visibility for sales growth.


Other Resources:

How to Create an eCommerce Rakuten (Linkshare) Product Feed To Increase Sales
Affiliate Networks in Europe
How to Create a Product Data Feed