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Affiliate Platform Buyer's Guide 

Independent Reviews: Rakuten Advertising

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Tech (Reporting, Tracking, Commissioning)

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“Very old tech, you can tell they are trying to expand, but adding new tech onto old, so it's just old and needs.”

“Wish they had better insight reporting (first and last click, looking into anything other than last click).”

“Tech stack is not fancy, you get all the basics, but that’s about it. Their insight tools are not actionable – so worthless.”

“Their reporting is ok, better than some others. Text links, creating and giving them out is easy.”

“They need to bring everything together and build out programs that leverage all their offerings. They have not done that.  They have so much to offer, but don’t leverage.”

”Accessibility, flexibility and ability to ingest data: Rakuten has not updated these options in many, many years. And, it tends to be slow in terms of creating a reporting or even just running a report. This is one of those scenarios where you hit ‘submit’ and then walk away and grab a cup of coffee.” 

“Tagging: from a publisher point of view they have a global container tag and that makes it a lot  easier and safer – from GDPR, ITP. Most tech publishers that are working with Rakuten are working with their container tag so you don’t have to integrate. In these terms they are the industry standard.”

“It’s convoluted – hard to track down tagging issues or missing conversion.” 

“Decent to good tech integrations. They are able to serve financial services and credit cards companies, who have the most needs - so that speaks volumes.”

Ease of Use

Ease of Use

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“Usability is good, although it's not the most intuitive.”

“Not as user-friendly. Not as visually appealing. Can do the same things, it just takes longer.”

“I feel it’s really easy to use and straight forward. You don’t spend a lot of time using what you need. 
But the general aesthetics could be improved.”

“Needs a complete overall. It’s tired and difficult to navigate. Search is antiquated and slow.”

“Average, not impressive. UI leaves something to be desired. But not confusing either.” 



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“The people who work there are the nicest people I have ever engaged.”

“They own so many different parts of the industry; they try to steer you towards their products.”

“Someone who wants full service. But it’s very dependent on the big revenue driving pubs (ebates) rather than thinking outside the box.”

“Strong foothold in finance because they have a team dedicated to compliance. They have a team dedicated to manually ensuring compliance.”

“They are great if you don’t have an agency or a strong in-house team. They have great service.” 

“They have direct contacts, and they tend to work pretty hard at getting what you need (connections, intros, tech issues). Level of service is pretty good.” 

“Rakuten is pretty solid from a publisher perspective. We have responsive AMs, upon request they send us their list of account AM’s – which is helpful because they switch.” 

“Really good. They are fantastic. They have as many if not more AMs than anyone in the world and they bring them to bear on recruiting. They are out there in the marketplace fostering discussion.”

“Depends who you are talking to. Some very impressive client-facing people who are very proactive. Also have teams that are bloated and not actively working for you.”


Pricing Value

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“Choose Rakuten if need a brand your CMO will recognize.”

“You will get more value if you are looking for multi-channel solution to access to data, not just affiliate.”

“We get a lot of value from Rakuten. From the time we spend as a publisher we get the ROI for the right verticals (clothing and apparel).”

“If you need privacy, ITP, have a robust and flexible tracking technical partnership, go with Rakuten. Their tag can handle any and everything, and where its a global tag there are a lot of things you can glean. And if you rely on strong tech partnership and the possibility of using it in other marketing channels then use Rakuten because you can tap into Rakuten advertising channels.” 

“Rakuten is excellent at consumer brands. They are good with brands like Walmart and Nordstrom from a retail perspective as well as good at working with coupon and loyalty. The classic affiliate model –they get that and have the right people behind that.” 

“Brands that have scale or publishers that focus on compliance. Anyone in consumer retail - you get immediate access to offers (ebates). They also have really good tech integrations that brands use, so you can find dynamic ways to monetize on your sites - not just direct linking.” 


Quality of Publisher Network

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“Advertisers very strong in clothing and apparel, weak for most other. I wish there were more advertisers in more verticals. Good advertisers but limited to certain verticals.”

“They are heavy fashion. They have these huge accounts (Macy’s, Nordstrom) and they have been around so long, and fashion was so big early in affiliate. They are still huge, but niche with fashion.”

“There are a ton a publishers and a ton of brands. It’s a very well-known, big network. If you’re a brand, all the publishers will be on the network.”

“They have a really good publisher base. Easiest to recruit publishers and people are most familiar with it. Option to pitch other channels (display, etc). They are broader than affiliate.”

“In fashion, there are people who want to be there because peers are there (shoes and fashion). The cool place to be if you are in fashion or shoes.”

“It is not built for small influencers or niche sites. Sign-up process can be difficult — much more information that you need. Not streamlined.”

“It’s very large and has international base.”

“Great for fashion or shoes.”

“For a financial services publisher like us it's hard to beat, they have a great network and their brand carries cache that has brands circulating around that you want to work with. I love their conferences because even if they don’t have companies working with them they attract brands that are first rate.” 



Key Verticals: Retail, Fashion, Beauty

Typical Clients: Enterprise retail


Managed Services: Yes


Agency Platform: Yes


Review content provided by Rakuten Advertising for an overview of their products and services in areas including:


Tracking, Reporting, and Payment Options

Platform/Network Services

Partner Network

Pricing and Positioning

Company and Contact Information

Rating Key

4-Star Ratings Key:

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= Best in Class

= High Quality

= Serviceable, but Lacks Key Features or Updates

= Consistently Poor

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