Sub-Network and Loyalty Network Guidelines


An affiliate sub-network is a situation in which a publisher recruits other affiliates to work with them, without those affiliates registering with Rakuten Advertising as an independent publisher. Members of a publisher’s sub-network use the code and affiliate links that bring in revenue and the sub-network publisher then shares any commissions with their sub-network members, according to the standards set by the sub-network publisher.

Transparency Requirements

To maintain our high-quality affiliate network, we require transparency from all sub-networks and have created a system that allows publishers to easily remain transparent with their sub-network publishers or affiliates.

To remain in compliance as a sub-network publisher, you must ensure that your users also remain in compliance. If you or a member of your sub-network is found to be non-compliant, it may result in the cessation of all traffic on your account. Anyone with multiple infractions may be terminated from Rakuten Advertising. Sub-networks with websites should prepare a document for advertisers listing all the websites they would drive traffic through, in order to easily maintain transparency.

These requirements apply to a single entity that disseminates links to multiple users, which is the business model of loyalty networks and sub-networks, in order to allow our Compliance Department to track multiple users within that single entity publisher.

u1 Values

A u1 value is a combination of characters that is used to track traffic sources. These values can be up to 72 characters. To avoid errors, we advise against using special characters.

Signature tracking with u1 values may be used to identify various users or other data. You can encode multiple data points in u1 values. If using u1 for multiple data points, such as tracking a specific campaign, the unique identifier must be clear and separate.

Use values that are unique to each user. For example, User A has a u1 of 3549, and User B has a u1 of 8384. These values remain static for every purchase or merchant. Do not use a system to identify users that require a key. U1 values are implemented by the publishers.

As transparency is key to a successful sub-network, it is important that Rakuten Advertising’s policy regarding tracking URLs is closely followed. Null or blank URLs are only allowed if all the traffic coming to the URL is compliant with our terms or if the publisher team can provide the compliance team documentation on referral paths.

If your account uses tracking URLs and compliance cannot locate the source, you may be required to turn off all the traffic until compliance understands the referral path. Your account may be required to pass along all referral information in the future.

Next Steps

We encourage all sub-networks and loyalty networks to continually ensure they are in compliance with our transparency requirements and create unique identifiers for each user in their network.

If you require additional assistance, contact Customer Support.


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