Signing up with affiliate networks is a great way to make money with your blog while having all your advertisers in one basket. You may not have heard of Rakuten but you’ve probably heard of LinkShare and have read a few LinkShare reviews. Rakuten bought LinkShare so they are both under the same roof now. In this Rakuten LinkShare review, we’ll talk about the good and bad, especially the bad. You may be disappointed here. You’ve been warned!
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten is an affiliate network that was founded by Hiroshi Mikitani in February 1997 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. They also have numerous locations around the world. It originally started out as an online shopping marketplace. In 2005, Rakuten purchased LinkShare and rebranded it Rakuten Linkshare. They have partnered with many well known brands over the years. In 2018, they partnered with Walmart and in 2017 they signed a deal to be the official sponsor for the jersey patch on the NBA’s Golden State Warriors uniform. mThink has voted Rakuten the number one affiliate network for the 8th consecutive year.
How Does Rakuten Work?
Rakuten is an affiliate network much like CJ Affiliate and MaxBounty that connect advertisers and publishers, also known as affiliates. When you sign up with Rakuten, your application will go through an approval process. Once approved, you can connect with advertisers within the network. After signing up with an advertiser, you can promote their products on your site. You will accumulate commissions based on the advertiser’s commission structure outlined in their terms and conditions.
Here are some features of the Rakuten affiliate program:
- Available everywhere
- Free to join
- An A+ rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)
- The site is available in a number of different languages including English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese
- Tons of name brand advertisers such as Walmart, Lacoste, and Macy’s
- Publishers are automatically opted in to all other networks so they can promote locally as well as internationally
These are pretty good features for an affiliate network. You’re not limited to one network though. Consider joining other networks such as Maxbounty.com, Traffic Jam Media, iGain.com or Ezoic. Afterall, having multiple streams of income is always a good way to increase your income potential.
How Much Can You Make with Rakuten?
Your income potential will depend on the advertisers you choose to work with and their commission structure. You can earn more commissions if you work with international advertisers as well as local advertisers.
Another factor that will affect your income potential is the amount of traffic your site gets. When working with numerous advertisers, you’ll need tons of traffic to generate decent commissions. Every site could use more traffic. So you may want to consider joining Wealthy Affiliate where they will show you how to get tons of free traffic from Google.
When Do Rakuten Affiliates Get Paid?
When you sign up for your account, you’ll set up your payment minimum and the currency you wish to be paid in. The payment threshold is 50 currency units. Payments can be made in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, Euro, Australian dollars, and British pounds. Payments are made through direct deposit or check only and the currency options are limited. You may also incur foreign exchange fees depending on where you live.
According to our research, Rakuten doesn’t have a payment schedule for affiliates. Instead, payments are released only after advertisers have paid their fees to Rakuten. Depending on how reliable advertisers are, you could receive payment within a week or a month or perhaps longer! That unknown schedule may be a turn off. Fortunately there are other affiliate networks that have consistent payment schedules such as Maxbounty.com, Traffic Jam Media, iGain.com or Ezoic.
Anyone with a website, blog or social media presence can apply to be an affiliate with Rakuten. Here are a few additional requirements you will need to address during the application process:
- You must be 18 years or older
- For U.S. residents, you will need to provide your social security number and complete a tax form.
- Provide your address, email address, phone number and language preference
- Your website information including name, URL, date established, number of unique visitors per month, number of page views per month, brief description, category, targeted gender and ages.
- Your site must not participate in any prohibited activity such as pornography, illegal activities, or fraudulent activities, to name a few.
There are several regions within Rakuten. Your residence will determine the region you are under. For instance, if you reside in the U.S., you are a U.S. publisher. If you reside anywhere in the EU (European Union), you are a European Publisher.
If you think these requirements will be difficult to meet, apply to other networks such as Maxbounty.com, Traffic Jam Media, iGain.com or Ezoic. Your website traffic is definitely a consideration as well so if you’re not happy with your traffic numbers, consider joining Wealthy Affiliate. They will show you how to get tons of FREE traffic from Google.
How To Login To Rakuten
To log into your Rakuten affiliate account, click this link.
Rakuten support is available 24/7 by clicking on the chat button in the lower right hand corner of your screen when you are logged in. Alternatively, you can call and/or send an email to the phone number and email address for your particular region. For more information on contacting Support, click here.
We’ve talked about how Rakuten works. Now, let’s dive in and take a look at a few things that may make you think twice:
Limited Payment Options
The only payment options are by direct deposit and by check. Surprisingly there is no PayPal option which is annoying considering how popular this option is for many affiliates.
Limited Currencies Available
Affiliate payments are only available in a small number of currencies. If you live outside the U.S., Canada, Australia, or Europe you could be facing expensive foreign exchange charges and transaction fees that cut into your profits.
When The Hell Do I Get Paid?
Rakuten doesn’t have a set payment schedule for affiliates. You are paid after advertisers pay Rakuten. If you are working with one or more advertisers that don’t pay their advertising fees promptly, you could be waiting quite a while for your commissions.
Account Inactivity Punishment Fees
If your account is inactive for over 12 months, you will be subject to account maintenance fees according to the fee schedule below:
Greater than 100 currency units – a monthly fee of 50 currency units or 10%, whichever is less
Less than 100 currency units – a monthly fee of 10 currency units
Less than 10 currency units – a fee equivalent to the full balance of your account
If your balance drops down to zero, Rakuten reserves the right to close your account.
Rakuten’s Limited Liability
Rakuten is simply the middleman between advertisers and publishers/affiliates. If you have a dispute for payments over $1,000, Rakuten caps that liability to $1,000. For instance, if you have commissions for $2,000 that haven’t been paid, Rakuten is only liable to settle for $1,000. They are not obligated to help you get $2,000.
These complaints may be enough for you to hit the brakes on this one. If so, there’s always other networks to check out. Consider joining Maxbounty.com, Traffic Jam Media, iGain.com or Ezoic. These networks have some better features and policies in some cases.
Should You Join Rakuten?
Rakuten is a reputable affiliate network but you need to know what you are getting into before you sign up. There’s money to be made here as long as you don’t mind potentially waiting for payment on occasion and have tons of site traffic. If not, consider joining Wealthy Affiliate where you will learn step by step how to get free traffic to your website.
I guess that will do it for now, folks. If you have any questions or comments, drop me a note below. If you would like to find out more about Rakuten, check out their publisher faq section here.
Until next time,
Eddy with a y