Compliance Checklist: How to Be a Good Rakuten Publisher
As a Rakuten Advertising publisher, you need to understand and follow our network and advertiser’s policies, terms and conditions. There are benefits, expectations, and guidelines to follow to maintain your membership in good standing.
There are many benefits of being a Rakuten Advertising publisher:
- Association with the #1-ranked affiliate network for many years running
- Top-quality advertisers and brands available for partnerships
- Opportunity to earn commissions by becoming an 'adjunct salesperson' to help consumers make buying decisions
- Innovative technology and tools for your affiliate marketing needs
- 24/7 High-quality email, phone, and chat customer support
- Self-service customer assistance here in the publisher help center
There are also responsibilities associated with your network membership. We take network quality seriously because it is in the best interest of all our advertisers and publishers.
Here's a list of expectations and guidelines to get you started. It's not intended to be all-inclusive, but key issues and resources are highlighted for you to investigate further. It's your responsibility to ensure that you comply with all relevant laws, policies, terms and conditions.
For more detailed information and discussion, watch our recorded webinar Network Policies & Compliance: What You Need to Know
Four Key Areas of Compliance
1. Transparency and Integrity
Be open and transparent in disclosing to Rakuten Advertising and to each advertiser partner who you are, how you are driving traffic to advertisers' sites using your affiliate links, and how you are maintaining compliance to all required terms and policies. Helping you to maintain a good partnership with your Advertisers.
2. Follow best practices
Google's Webmaster Guidelines and Google's quality guidelines for affiliate websites help search engines find, crawl, and index your site in the search results. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Review the entire guidelines document carefully, and pay particular attention to the quality best practices, such as these basic principles:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Google's guidelines caution specifically against creating "doorway pages" and "thin affiliate sites", among other concerns for publishers.
- Don't deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
3. Understand and follow Rakuten Advertising's Network Policies
You can review and download the current Publisher Membership Agreement and the Network Policies online. Read them completely and carefully and make sure you understand everything in the policies. You may also want to have your legal consultant review and advise you where you are unsure. The policies cover these important areas of your affiliate marketing efforts in our network, and others:
- FTC Endorsement Compliance: For making required disclosures when reviewing products and using affiliate links.
- FTC CAN-SPAM Act Compliance: When using email marketing
- Using Adware, Plug-ins, Pop-up Engines and Other Downloadable Technology
- Using Network Communication Tools
- Distributing Affiliate Links
- Participating in Advertisers' Affiliate Programs
- Generating Invalid Tracked Activities
- Taking Advantage of Return Day Features
4. Understand and follow advertisers' policies, terms and conditions when you join their affiliate programs
Carefully and thoroughly read the advertiser's terms and conditions and policies before joining their program. Pay particular attention to advertiser-specific policies about:
- Paid Search Marketing: Such as whether trademark bidding is allowed
- Social Media: Allowable use of social media postings for affiliate links
- Coupon Usage: Including the use of non-affiliate coupon codes on your site
- Gift Cards: Including whether gift cards and e-gift cards are commissionable
- Downloadable Software Applications: Including whether the advertiser allows toolbars, browser plug-ins, and other downloadable software applications (DSAs)
- Resale of Products: Allowable purchase of advertiser's products for resale, if any
- Violations: How the advertiser will handle violations of their policies
You can find the advertiser's policies in the Publisher Dashboard, in the advertiser information for each advertiser you're partnered with. It will look something like this:
Please note: Advertiser policies are subject to change. It's always best to check the advertiser's terms & conditions and confirm the policies with the advertiser directly.
Our Network Quality & Compliance team monitor our publishers for any signs of fraud, misrepresentations or non-compliance. Serious violations can lead to termination or removal from the Network, and you may not be allowed to rejoin.
There are many reasons why we may terminate newly registered publishers in our network including: 1) incomplete or false contact information, 2) invalid business, 3) lack of website content, 4) unacceptable website content (including promotion of activity considered illegal in the United States), and 5) an inability to verify website(s), phone number(s), and email, etc. We may also terminate publishers associated with known fraudulent publishers.
Other causes for termination or investigation are spelled out in the various policies referenced in this article. It is your responsibility to read and understand all the relevant policies to make sure you are following them. If you have questions, please contact your legal consultant for guidance. We cannot provide legal counsel for you.
Still have more questions? Use the SUPPORT tab at the top of the page or this link to find the email or phone Customer Support contacts for your location.