Business Model Options


A business model, as we are using the term here, is a general description of how you plan to generate revenue and earn profits from your website or affiliate marketing channels. Publishers are finding unique ways of using and combining business models. You may want to ask your business advisers to help develop your business plan and decide the business model that best fits your website and affiliate marketing channels.

We will outline some of our publishers' main business models to help you decide where yours best fits.


When you sign up as a publisher in the Rakuten Affiliate Network, you are asked to select a business model to describe your business. Ultimately, this decision is up to you, your accountant, and your legal team. Though Rakuten Affiliate doesn't make individual recommendations, we provide general information below to give your team some basic context. Learn more about the sign-up process in our step-by-step guide.

Business Model Options

Here is a list of the most common types of affiliate websites and the types of business models they support, for use in signing up as a publisher in the Rakuten Affiliate Network.

  • Loyalty and Rewards - Select this option if your primary business model is based on loyalty or rewards. For example, your site offers points, donations, or other rewards for purchasing at selected merchants. Loyalty and reward sites give something back to the consumer in exchange for purchasing through the advertiser’s site. A percentage of the advertiser commission is used to pay a reward to the end user. Rewards come in many forms, including cash, airline miles, credit card points, or a percentage of sales given to an organization.
  • Coupons and Deals - Select this option if your primary business model is based on offering coupons and deals to your customers.
  • General Shopping - Select this option if your primary business model is shopping. Shopping sites can be thought of as a virtual mall. The consumer can shop for various products and brands without leaving the site. This type of publisher is not explicitly focused on coupons and deals.
  • Search - Select this option if your primary business model is based on search. Search publishers promote advertisers via search engine marketing, natural or paid.
  • Price Comparison - Select this option if your primary business model is based on price comparison. Comparison shopping sites sell items where some comparison is made before the purchase. The publisher will often have direct product links of the same product from different advertisers.
  • Content/Niche - Select this option if your primary business model is based on content, such as news stories, media, music, or video. Content sites focus on a specific area of interest. This type of site is usually not a shopping site but users go to the site because they are interested in relevant content on site. Content sites that do well with performance-based marketing blend their area of expertise with product recommendations.
  • Social Shopping - Select this option if your primary business model is based on social shopping. Social shopping sites usually combine shopping with user recommendations, reviews, lists, and other social network features.
  • User Generated - Select this option if your primary business model is based on user-generated content such as communities, forums, and social networks.
  • Developer - Your primary business mode is using the tools and data Rakuten Advertising provides to integrate our services. 
  • Other - Select this option if your primary business model does not fall into any of the other categories.

Next Steps

For more information, read the step-by-step instructions to sign up.

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  • Hi Sally Anne,

    Basically i have a photographic website ... but i would like to promote free courses ...
    what should i select as "Primary Business Model" and "Vertical Category"
    Request to help me i\on this issue.


  • Hi Aprameya, only you can decide which business model and vertical category to select. You may want to ask your business advisors for help. The business model is related to how you plan to make money from your website using affiliate marketing. It's not clear how you can do that from what you have said here about promoting free courses and what you currently have on your website. First you need to make sure you have developed your business plan and built out your website appropriately with your photography content, for example.

    Here is some helpful information from Google: "Our Webmaster Guidelines advise you to create websites with original content that adds value for users. This is particularly important for sites that participate in affiliate programs. Typically, affiliate websites feature product descriptions that appear on sites across that affiliate network. ... Added value means additional meaningful content or features, such as additional information about price, purchasing location, or product category.

    Google believes that pure, or "thin," affiliate websites do not provide additional value for web users, especially (but not only) if they are part of a program that distributes its content across a network of affiliates. These sites often appear to be cookie-cutter sites or templates the same or similar content replicated within the same site, or across multiple domains or languages. Because a search results page could return several of these sites, all with the same content, thin affiliates create a frustrating user experience.

    Examples of thin affiliates:

    * Pages with product affiliate links on which the product descriptions and reviews are copied directly from the original merchant without any original content or added value.

    * Pages of product affiliation where the majority of the site is made for affiliation and contains a limited amount of original content or added value for users."

    Please see the complete Google Webmaster guidelines for affiliate marketing sites here for more information:


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