Downloadable Software Applications (DSAs): An Overview

A DSA (downloadable software application) is software such as a toolbar or a plug-in that an end-user installs on their computer. DSAs can earn users points or rewards from loyalty sites, provide them with publisher promotions and coupons, allow them to donate to charity, and perform other actions. They often work to increase a publisher's sales.

Rakuten Advertising strives to make it easy for publishers to implement innovative tools and applications. In order to maintain the high-quality of our network, we do have specific guidelines on how these tools are implemented and used.

All DSAs must conform to Rakuten Advertising's Guidelines and be tested by us. It is the responsibility of the publisher to notify us about their DSA. See more information on the testing process.

The DSA testing process is a two-step process. To begin, please send an email to us at with this information:

  1. Publisher name
  2. Site ID (SID)
  3. Website URL
  4. DSA name and Version Number(s)
  5. Download URL for your software
  6. Browsers your DSA is compatible with
  7. Operating systems (i.e., Windows, Mac OS, etc.)
  8. Does your software activate and overwrite (your Rakuten Affiliate cookie is placed) on the following? (Y/N)
    •    Paid Search
    •    Rakuten Advertising Links (linksynergy)/Afsrc
    •    Organic Listings
    •    Direct Type In
    •    Email
  9. A detailed description of the expected behavior of your DSA. Please include details of click action and screenshot(s) of the software in use.
  10. How does the user opt-out? Please provide a detailed description of the new behavior.
  11. The distribution method for your software (please include specific URLs) including all third parties distributing your tool.  Please make sure to provide a complete list of third parties.
  12. Benefits to the end-user
  13. How easily and quickly the DSA can be updated if needed
  14. A copy of the DSA software with 10 to 15 Rakuten Advertising advertiser feeds (software must not be publicly available to download until approved)
  15. A list of Rakuten Advertising advertisers included in the DSA launch
  16. Provide technical details of your software:
    • Pop-up injection name (iframe/shadow root)
    • DOM ID for the iframe or base shadow root
    • Xpath for the close button
    • DOM ID for the SERP for each SEO pages (google, bing, yahoo)
    • The XPath for the coupon activation button.
    • Log in required to activate coupons/offers (Yes/No)
    • Log in form input fields (XPath for username, password, submit button, and any additional input fields)

Once your DSA is approved, the second step is to contact your advertisers alerting them of this new distribution and marketing channel that you will be promoting them through. As our policies state, we do not allow the auto-redirection of advertisers' natural traffic and paid traffic unless you have specific documented permission from each individual advertiser. Your DSA should become inactive on the sites of any advertisers who opt-out or stand down on those that don't want you to redirect their traffic. Publishers who fail to comply with this rule will jeopardize their relationship with advertisers as well as with Rakuten Advertising. For more information, please see: Have Your DSA Approved by Advertisers.

Important: If you make changes to your DSA after it has been approved, you must notify us, as we will need to retest it.

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  • I've updated this article with additional information to help us understand and approve your DSA.

  • This article has been updated with additional information about the technical requirements needed for DSA approval.


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