Downloadable Software Applications (DSAs) Overview


A Downloadable Software Application (DSA) 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 have specific guidelines on how these tools are implemented and used. As such, all DSAs must conform to Rakuten Advertising's Guidelines and be tested by us. It is your responsibility as a publisher to notify us about your DSA.

There are two steps to the DSA approval process:

  1. Notify Rakuten Advertising for testing.
  2. Notify your advertisers.

Step 1: Notify Rakuten Advertising for Testing

Please send an email to 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 (meaning your Rakuten Affiliate cookie is placed) on the following?
    • Paid Search: Yes/No
    • Rakuten Advertising Links (linksynergy)/Afsrc: Yes/No
    • Organic Listings: Yes/No
    • Direct Type In: Yes/No
    • Email: Yes/No
  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 including all third parties distributing your tool. Please make sure to include specific URLs and 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. These are temporary and for testing purposes only. Please keep in mind that the 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.

DSAs are reviewed by our in-house Network Quality specialists to ensure that our high standards are met and retested monthly to ensure that these high standards are kept. This overall process can take up to two weeks if no issues are encountered. Learn more about the testing process.

Making changes to your DSA

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

Step 2: Notify your Advertisers

Once your DSA is approved, contact your advertisers and ask their permission to use this new distribution method with their program.

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 do not 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. Learn more about having your DSA approved by advertisers.

Updating your Account Profile

Add your DSA information to your account profile in the dashboard once you have secured advertiser permission:

  1. Go to My Account in the navigation header and select Account Profile.
  2. Click the Downloadable Software Applications drawer.
  3. Select Yes and enter your DSA information.
  4. Scroll down and click Save.

The status indicates whether your DSA has been approved. You must follow steps 1 and 2 above to get approval before entering your DSA information in the dashboard.

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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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