The History of Rakuten

In 2014, Ebates and Rakuten entered into a partnership that would transform the way both companies offer new experiences and opportunities to their customers. At Ebates, we have been working diligently for the past five years to maximize this partnership with Rakuten, while ensuring that we maintain the true Ebates experience you, our members, have grown to love. This year, you’ll start to notice the Rakuten logo appear where you’re used to seeing Ebates, but how you earn the Cash Back you love will stay the same.

We know change can be scary, so we want to be transparent in communicating who we’re striving to be and who Rakuten is. Learning about the history of Rakuten will offer insight into why we chose to partner with them, with you in mind.

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten was first introduced in 1997 in Japan as an e-commerce site, and in the twenty years since, it has expanded its presence internationally with the innovation and entrepreneurship that has driven the business since its founding. What started as an online marketplace with only six employees, one server and 13 merchants has matured into a portfolio of more than 70 businesses with 1.2 billion members worldwide.

Ebates is not the first company to join Rakuten USA, nor will it be the last. With roots in Japan, Rakuten wanted to broaden its reach overseas. The acquisition of Ebates has allowed Rakuten to better connect with American audiences through e-commerce and retail concepts that strengthen both businesses.


Who else is part of the Rakuten family?

With membership at its core, Rakuten continues to seek the right brands to help deliver on its objectives. The Rakuten ecosystem hosts a variety of entities, including banking, sports, culture and e-commerce. Here are just a few:


  • Rakuten Global: Online shopping mall for overseas customers
  • Rakuten: Online shopping in the U.S.
  • Rakuten Slice: Consumer-focused online purchasing data analysis service in the U.S.


Digital Content

  • Rakuten VIKI: Global video-on-demand service providing content translated by a volunteer community of fans
  • Rakuten Kobo: Global e-reading service
  • Rakuten OverDrive: Provider of digital library services to libraries and education facilities

Ads & Media

  • Rakuten Marketing: Online marketing solutions specializing in the areas of search (SEM), lead generation and affiliate marketing

In addition, Rakuten has become the official partner and sponsor of some of your favorite sports teams and programs, such as the Golden State Warriors, FC Barcelona and Spartan Race. The expansion of Rakuten in a variety of spheres allows the company to distribute its strengths to different industries across the globe. Learn more about the Rakuten timeline since 1997.

What can we expect now?

As we make the transition to Rakuten, our goal is to ensure that our community stays strong and cohesive. We know you may be worried about how things will change now that we’re Rakuten. Rest assured that your Cash Back, account information, the way you shop, the stores you shop and the Member Services team you know and love will not change. Everything will be exactly as you remember it; all that will be different is our new name and logo.

Together with Rakuten, we’ve already been able to offer more Cash Back and more benefits than ever before. And none of this, nor any of the great benefits you’ve seen this past year, could have been a success without the support of the whole Rakuten company. However, this is only the beginning. Get ready for more and better opportunities to save everywhere you go. We’re so excited to have you with us as we take the next step as Rakuten!

If you haven’t yet, join Rakuten today to be part of everything that’s to come.


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