On the eve of the bidding war for Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka, Major League Baseball and the Japanese baseball establishment entered into an agreement that will have the net effect of vastly increasing the riches to be paid upon Tanaka, at the expense of his soon to be former team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
As I previously discussed, the scene was prime for a record setting payment, perhaps exceeding $60 M, to be paid to Rakuten by the MLB team outbidding all others for the rights to try to sign Tanaka. The record stands now, and likely forever, at $51 M, paid by
Still, $20 M is a pretty good payday, especially to such an awful company as Rakuten. Rakuten owns a slew of companies based in the US and they are rife with policies and ownership arrangements that constitute serious conflicts of interest and stretch the concepts of morality and legality to the extreme limits*.
*Rakuten Linkshare is one of the affiliate marketing network giants, but Rakuten also owns many merchant companies, such as Rakuten Shopping (formerly Buy.com) and Kobo, and others, that are merchants on their own network, and affiliate sites, such as One Cause, also on their own networks, giving them unfair advantages in competing against other merchants, and especially against other affiliates. In addition, the industry has long been aware of considerable and uncontroverted evidence that Rakuten-owned affiliate sites, such as One Cause, have been engaged in what is called “Parasite” activity, using software and toolbar devices to override commissions earned by other, non-Rakuten operated affiliates.