Before you become an efficient and successful online affiliate marketer, you need to know what your role is and understand the rules of the affiliate games, you need to understand the revenue process. Since you have put many efforts on creating content and driving tons of traffic for your website, it is time to monetize for your blog with promoting affiliate program products, in order to maximize revenue, you need to understand list of top affiliate networks and their features well as affiliate marketers, so that you can leverage them to earn lots of passive income.
What is an affiliate network?
You will be confused about affiliate network and affiliate program as a new affiliate marketer, an affiliate network is a third-party or intermedia between media or blogger publisher who play the role of affiliate marketer and merchants companies who offer products or services for promoting and offer a commission to affiliate marketer by selling their products or service.
Affiliate network leverage the advantage of their source to attract more affiliate marketers to join in and monetize their blog website, and get together a large number of brand merchants to enter to offer a variety of products. some of the merchants offering their affiliate programs directly by themselves, but most of the brand merchants manage their affiliate program through the third-party affiliate networks.
What an affiliate network is versus an affiliate program?
Affiliate programs are often listed on the affiliate networks website. Take, for example, If I run a successful website which has my own shopping cart that allows me to run my own affiliate program, if I manage myself through my own cart, you and other affiliate marketers could enter into a relationship or an agreement where you and affiliates promote my stuff, you could earn a kickback or commission for the sale you generate for me, we run this independently of a third party, so that is an affiliate program.
An affiliate network is when a third party company gets in between the two of us, and what they’ll do is they’ll go to find hundreds of and thousands of merchants and then they’ll get thousands of tens of thousands of affiliates and they’ll essentially be a middle person in between the two. when you get accepted to these affiliate networks you get access to thousands of merchants with affiliate programs who have millions of promoting products to sell whether it’s digital, physical, any sort of niche market, anything you could imagine.
Before you want to get the affiliate marketing goals, you should know more about what are there a list of top affiliate networks, and how does that work? haven’t had a clear process about affiliate marketing yet? here is article step by step affiliate marketing for beginners.
15 Criteria to choose the best affiliate networks
- Check if the affiliate network provides affiliate programs involves in your blogging niche
- Is it legit and paying?
- Check if their commission structure is it one-time paid or recurring commission structure
- Is it easy to get started for a new blogger or have a high barrier to join for large traffic website only
- Does it provide Tutorial or training courses, webinars & tools for promoting their affiliate program?
- Is it free or pay to join? is there any other fee cost without selling in a period?
- How long are the cookies?
- How much is the minimum payout thresholds?
- How much is the commission rate?
- Check out the payment methods that use to pay its affiliates, is its support in your country?
- What types of affiliates are you targeting? large or small?
- What is your requirement in a specific report and tracking system that affiliate network offer?
- Are they already working with a famous brand?
- Do they offer satisfying customer service?
- Research and look for genuine reviews for this affiliate network what are other affiliate marketers saying about?
List of top affiliate networks
Some affiliate networks would be free to join, some would be paid. some you have to pay the high cost and some are as little as $25 on offer payment and no other cost, some would and offer all the tools teach you theory on how to market their program. Some of the affiliate networks don’t offer anything, you need to work out yourself how to promote, but they will offer large brand products. Choosing what kind of affiliate networks depending on your request. If you are planning to make money with affiliate programs then joining a popular affiliate network, here is some list of top affiliate networks that recognize providing good value recommending by some of the successful affiliate marketers, you can check and review whether it is worthy of your invest time and effort.
ShareASale offers up to 3,900+ AFFILIATE PROGRAMS, spanning 40 different categories. covering every niche products. Include Art & Music, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Education & Healthy, Sports & Wedding. There are currently 2000 merchants plugged in ShareASale network which offer different types of high-quality niche products and offer a high rate commission.
ShareASale is super legit and there are very many customers or companies that use ShareASale for their affiliate marketing. ShareASale connects affiliates with companies that want to offer affiliate marketing. ShareASale is actually a system that controls every aspect of the referral traffic or affiliate handling. It is a portal for companies to connect their websites.
ShareASale is the one that pays out to you and not directly the company. The companies have to put money into ShareASale to be able to pay you. When companies don’t pay, their account gets frozen and they drop out of the program quickly.
Payments are sent timely out via Check or Direct Deposit and are sent out on the 20th of every month, If the 20th falls on a weekend, payments will be sent on the following Monday. Make sure that your account balance was over your minimum $50 at the end of last month.
It’s fairly easy to join the program as a newbie who has zero to very limited experience working with affiliate programs
Share a Sale is that it is beginner-friendly. You can promote a lot on there rather than on some other sites which need you to have tons of experience. This site has thousands of companies looking for marketers to promote their products.
Everything is at least in one place and you can track everything from one place. ShareASale makes it a point to talk to their affiliates and help them with the support that is outstanding,
You can select what type of merchant you want to be associated with which would fit your personal site or blog the best, very easy to communicate with merchants. They will help you in figuring out how to apply appropriate merchants with your content to help generate more revenue for your site
Shareasale has an awesome real-time reporting dashboard which makes you easy to understand how your affiliate works for you. You can also customize your reports. ShareASale offer real-time tracking, you will easily analyze the customers’ behavior, including how they get your affiliate links, and clicks, orders. It is very clear & easy to see where & how you are earning every month.
Shareasale provides training and helpful articles to better understand affiliate marketing, increase clicks, income, and conversions. They make every effort to try to educate their partners and work for the good of the ENTIRE industry
like being an Industry Champion of the Performance Marketing Association.
You proactively manage your account using the data and tools in their system. ShareASale gives you handy social tools which allow users to share your affiliate link with others!
Their updated design and custom link generator is greatly improved and makes it faster and easier to generate custom links to the store product page with your affiliate ID. It is a centralized affiliate sale site, you don’t have to become an affiliate of each and every brand and store directly which forces you to keep track of so many separate sites and sources of income.
ShareASale is worthwhile to join free as an affiliate marketer to earn passive income. It is easy to get started as a new blogger and the payout is timely, what is more, they work with a large amount of reputable brand company which products are easy to promote and get high revenue for your blog websites.
Clickbank is a huge affiliate network since 1998 as a top 100 retailer with 200 million customers. Click bank is focusing on digital information products worldwide created by entrepreneurs, from advice for getting the shape to healthy cooking recipes and many areas in daily life. including Arts & Entertainment,, Business & Investing, Computers & Internet, E-business & E-Marketing, Education, Employment & Job, Fiction, Games & Language, Green products, Healthy & Fitness, Home & Garden, Parenting & Families, Sports & Travel, Politics & Current Events, Software & Service, Spirituality, New Age & Alternative Beliefs, etc. Clickbank delivers digital lifestyle to customers in 190 countries.
Clickbank is a worldwide E-commerce leader with a network of 500,000 digital affiliate marketing experts which help many successful entrepreneurs to reach a global audience to sell products online.
Clickbank has built its reputation by paying commission its affiliates on time, so you never need to worry about when you get paid every time, you can earn commission as high as 75%. Their online marketplace offers tens of thousands of products for you to choose from, so you are sure to find offers that will typically appeal to your audience.
You can choose to get paid as often as per week through multiple payment options, payment method includes paper check, Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer, this option is available for countries not served by international direct deposit, Payoneer. you can switch between available payment methods any time, but it will take up to a week for a new payment method to take effect. Note: if you change your email or password, the option to change the payment method is disabled as a security measure. The minimum payment threshold is $10, you can select $10 to $1000.000 as your payment threshold amount.
Many of the products on Clickbank are sold on recurring commission basic, these are great opportunities for affiliate markets as soon as customers continue the subscription, you can continue to earn money monthly, yearly, long after the original sales. You can choose to upsell products to promote, upsell bring more value to customers and increase income in your pocket.
With Clickbank’s advanced reporting, you can access to detail database like impressions, clicks, sales of your offer, and leverage the data to adjust your sales strategies.
Clickbank also has its university for training in affiliate marketing help you to success with online business, including 8-Week Affiliates Class, Bi-Weekly expert classes, Specially Curated Add-on Trainings, Massive Discounts on their Favorite Tools, AND The Exclusive ClickBank University Community,1 live training webinar per week, 1000,000+ people have made success on this platform. the target training, resources, and tools for affiliate marketing is worth of your invest. With the help of their traffic center, you will find ways of how to generate unlimited traffic and clicks. it is very easy to follow the video tutorial.
The Affiliate Finder tool helps new vendors to connect with affiliates who want to promote their products. you can view their products and resources and determine whether you want to promote for them or not.
The Affiliate Finder tool through ClickBank Insights was designed to help new vendors connect with affiliates who could help promote their product.
There are no restrictions on promotional methods you can use to sell their products, and there is no restriction on how many traffic have you got on your website. It has longer tracking with 60 Days cookies.
But there is some disadvantage of Clickbank, some of the products are not trustworthy, affiliate marketers need to screen out the high-quality products, the best selling products are full of competitions. You much reach the payment threshold which you set, the minimum is $10 and you must meet the Customer Distribution Requirement to get paid. If your customer request a chargeback, the vendor and the affiliate must return the portion of the sale as well.
You can advertise using your own website, but you don’t have to if you don’t have one. You can also promote products using online ads, email newsletters, online classifieds, social media platform, or search engine advertising. To personal recommendation, it is better to promote products with a professional website, if haven’t built yet, check this article about How to create a WordPress website for free.
Clickbank is easy and free affiliate network to get into, particularly for beginners, Clickbank is on the top affiliate marketplace up top is where you look, they’ve got different categories for offers, there are different kind of percentages you’ll earn the average dollars per sale you’ll get. Once you apply with Clickbank and accept on the platform as affiliates, you get access to every single vendor’s products you can promote anything you want within Clickbank while some of the other affiliate networks require you to apply to the program once you’re inside of the network. It is worth to join in Clickbank on the whole even though there is a little deficiency, you can still find lots of brand digital products for revenue.
CJ Affiliate has been over 20 years since it was founded in 1998, as a global affiliate network, it is the largest affiliate network in North America, the CJ teams stuff response quick and the platform is reliable and user-friendly. Join in CJ affiliate network, you can access to a top brand advertiser to promote their high-quality products. You can get access to thousands of products within many niches as a publisher.
Commission Junction is one of the strictest affiliate networks out there if you don’t send them traffic within 30days, before you apply to this affiliate network, you need to build an active niche website, if you don’t have your own website, you will need to wait to apply and it is rejected by CJ. If you are a newbie for affiliate marketing, I will happy to teach you to step by step affiliate marketing for beginners.
You can get paid on time in over 150 currencies via direct deposit, check, or via global payments Payoneer. CJ affiliate pays out within 20 days at the end of the month as long as you have the minimum payment threshold with $50 pay by deposit or $100 pay by paper check. it doesn’t accept payment with PayPal account or credit card.
If there is little or no traffic with your website, they’ll kind of put your account into a suspended moment or in a suspended category. They probably do the research on you up with relevant link on trying to deny people who don’t actually have real content-based business, they are specific to picky about who they let in, because you start to promote as an affiliate, you kind of leverage their brands value and gets tied into how you promote them. so they want to really make sure they’re working with people who are on the up-and-up. So if you want to successfully apply on CJ affiliate, you will be interested in How to get more traffic for your blog-21 Tips and Tricks.
Publishers can create a CJ Publisher account for free. They offer professional consultation and innovative tools and solutions to help you understand your audience and grow your affiliate marketing business.
CJ affiliate’s invaluable report and analytics allow you to refine your affiliate strategies and better to create content catering to your audience. but their report is a little confused to understand at first, It’s not that intuitive, you need to waste a lot of time to research on it.
When you join in CJ affiliate network, you still also need to apply for different merchants’ affiliate programs individually, and there is no single support contact, if there are any products or offer request, publishers should content advertiser but not CJ support. it is not so convenient. Not like Clickbank, once you join in their network, you could promote every product in their catalog, you need to wait for the merchant’s agreement whether they want to accept your application. some times you need to wait for a long time to get approved by some of the merchants’ affiliate program.
Typically, the merchants apply to CJ to be accepted on the site. On good networks, they are vetted so that junk dealers and scammers don’t end up on the network trying to sell bogus goods. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which merchants are legit and which aren’t. On Cj, it’s not that easy if you don’t know the merchant.
There are many options to promote product links in text, images, buttons, and banners. Promoting Green products is the feature of CJ affiliates.
CJ dashboard seems complicated and it is not users -friendly to begin with, I think I need to waste lots of time to research on how to work with it, I find CJ surprisingly clunky, difficult to navigate and to use. If you are just new blogger with little traffic and clicks on your website, CJ affiliate is not your selection to join, but if you are stable traffic blogger with tons of traffic, and want to search for rich affiliate program with brand merchant, don’t forget to join CJ affiliate network, you can diversify your offers.
But there is also complaint about CJ affiliates, many publisher complaints that they don’t make money from this platform or CJ don’t pay for them even if they make a sale. But CJ is actually a legit company with real successful affiliate marketers. you should distinguish what the problem they suffer from, don’t blame the platform for some of their mistakes, if you run correctly with CJ affiliate, you would make money from there.
What exactly is Amazon Associates?
Amazon Associates are actually affiliate marketing programs offered by individual retailer similar to an affiliate network. It is launched in 1996 by Amazon which allows website owners to receive a commission from Amazon sellers by promoting their products on Amazon and build a partnership, it is free to join. Participants can create links through the portal or API.
Affiliates create the links of any product from Amazon, only when customers click through the links and buy within 24 hours, the affiliate can earn commissions, after 24 hours, if there is no payment or order or adding to cart, you will not get commission even if it was referred by your link. If adding to cart, the cookies can last for 90 days. The referral fee varies from product to product and the sales volume, some of the commission rate base on product categories of your Niche, you can earn a commission from 4% to 10% for each sale.
Amazon is currently the largest eCommerce retail platform and is a reputable business for most of the customers all over the world, it is easy to get access to Amazon’s brand and promote their products for more revenue. Thought some of the commission is not so high enough, but there are a great variety of goods with high-quality and their competitive conversion rate help you maximize your earnings, you can still earn a lot in total.
You can expect a secure and on-time payment from Amazon associates. Payment method includes Amazon.com Gift Card, Check, Direct Deposit，payment threshold is $10.
Before applying for Amazon Associate, you need to build your own website, if you don’t have one, it is easy to build a website in just few minutes, If your website has little content or traffic, you will also be rejected by Amazon, so you need to concentrate on website original content creating, content is the king, as long as you make keyword research with website keyword finder in your Niche market do well on content marketing, and make content strategies in search engine optimization, can you get more traffic for your website and have a better conversion rate.
If you don’t have a website, you can still apply for Amazon affiliate with YouTube Channel or Android/iPhone apps, But the minimum of your Youtube subscribers need to be over 500, or you will not be approved.
There are several link building for Amazon affiliate products, use the site stripe toolbar to add links to any of Amazon product detail page. you can link to the desired products, popular categories, favorites, best sellers, search-results pages, and banners, or use a simple product link or use banners linking to product categories and promotions.
You will have an issue on phone verify if you are not US citizen and enter a phone call in another country like me in China. But it is easy to solve this problem with textnow.com, sign up free and get a US number after entering the US phone number in the verification box, click call me now and enter the PIN code to the calling from Amazon, then you will successful verify with the phone number generate by textnow.com.
You can track your fees 24*7 with the platform’s online detail reports, the reports help you to understand the motivation of the customers, what type of products they like, analyze your traffic, clicks, conversion rates and earning. tracking ID summary, payment history.
eBay partner network is Ebay’s affiliate programs. eBay is a top ten retail brand of the world which offer 1.2 million listings, including fashion, electronics, collectibles, home goods and more. eBay partner offers a large number of brand products for publishers or bloggers to monetize their website, social page, a mobile app by driving high-quality traffic to eBay.
eBay partner network’s competitive advantage
- Competitive commission level base on category classification
- Offer online auction and Buy it now options and daily deals
- Offering a robust suite of affiliate tools
- 200% referral profits brand new and reactive orders
- access to the biggest retail brand online markets
- The minimum payout threshold is low to $10
- Commission rate is high between 50% – 70%
- Access to tracking and reporting tools and other support services
- Their payment is as long as your account balance exceeds the required minimum account balance of 10 USD
- Payment method is multiple options including PayPal, direct deposit.
- Buttons, banners, widgets, text, Software Applications and other creative content that is used by Affiliates
- A tracking code provided by EPN that is embedded in Promotional Methods to track the Qualifying Transactions
- It is easy and free to join eBay partner for everyone without restriction on website traffic or sales volume especially for beginners.
You can get access to a variety of banners, buttons, text links, our API and other tools you can add to your site or social page. you can add as many affiliate ads as you want, choose to promote a specific product or a category is available for you to appeal your visitors.
You can still promote eBay product as eBay partner affiliate with zero sales, but on Amazon, they kick you off if you do not make a sale in a specific amount of time. eBay lets you grow, learn, and prosper at your own pace. No other platform has as many products in addition to great tools for website integration. You can use their advertising tools anywhere on any platform. Top tier program, with a great mix of banner ads and direct links to products.
Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are among the acceptable platforms for promoting eBay and are eligible for compensation. For the most part, if the social platform allows users to add affiliate links, but please comply with the terms applicable to these social platforms.
But there is also some disadvantage about eBay partner. You’ll earn a portion of eBay’s profits whenever you send out visitors to eBay and they finally order and pay within 24-hours even if auctions use up to 10 days to end. Note, the cookies is only 24 hours, which means that if customers didn’t pay for the order within 24 hours, you will not get paid even if they are a referral from your traffic, that is why so many affiliate marketers complaint that they earn very little revenue because of the short cookies of 24 hours. Or a customer offers a bid on an auction by clicking your affiliate link within 24 hours and pay the auction in ten days, you can still earn the commission. But most of the other affiliate program has long cookies up to 30-90 days.
The industry voted Rakuten as the #1 Affiliate Marketing Network by winning 110 million orders worldwide. It is free to join Rakuten affiliate, as a publisher or blogger to work with Rakuten partner, you can access to thousands of leading and emerging brands across a variety of industries to provide your audience with personalized advertising experience.
Rakuten affiliate network offers educational tools and training courses to help and improve your affiliate marketing programs and increase your commissions. including monthly newsletters with tools, insights and promotions, educational webinars, document and video tutorial, phone and email support,
Rakuten offers Technology & Tools for Profitable Relationships, you can create customized product showcases to match your blog content and audience. Auto-convert all standard advertiser links into commissionable tracking links. Make content and ads strategies using their proprietary API to offer personalized service for customers. you can get paid placements insights with visibility into ROI and conversions. It is easy to track app installs, leads, and conversions with Deep-linking.
With their unique data, you can create personal and real interactions across channels, platforms and devices,.Including Rakuten Ecosystem Data and Rakuten Marketing Historical User Data which let you know where your customers are in their purchasing journey and improve the conversion rate. They may leverage the historical user data from three channels with Rakuten Marketing Performance, Product Feed, and Audience Data.
Rakuten didn’t pay for your commission only when after the advertisers pay for them, that means you will not get paid on time, or not a stable payment method, maybe need to take 30-60 days to get the commission. If you are in urgent need of income stream flow, this affiliate network is not fit for you.
They offer payment method with direct deposit or paper check, and it can process payments to 202 countries/regions in 25 currencies, but it didn’t accept PayPal payment. the minimum payment threshold is $1.
Although Rakuten is not so large like CJ affiliate, the feature of this affiliate network is rotating banners and customized deep linking to any page of advertisers’ website. And there are so many branding merchants for your option, and after all, it had been very old brand affiliate network for many years, it is still worth for you to sign up for your another affiliate network to get revenue.
An AvantLink affiliate network is over 20+ years old which concentrates to work with qualified catalog-based merchants and vetted affiliates, they believe in quality over quantity, so joining AvantLink, you can access to top brand quality merchants and product services. Only established merchants that have large product offerings, who are dedicated to building productive partnerships are allowed to join this network.
With the AvantLink App Market as new marketing tools work for the entire network. they offer a robust suite of tools enables you to easily and powerfully advertise down to a product-level.
AvantLink offer detail real-time data and product level reports to help you monitor what kind of product is performing well on your website and enable you further optimize your content, then leverage their tracking to increase your revenue.
AvantLink is a leader in innovation for affiliate marketing technology. Compared to all of the other affiliate companies, AvantLink’s tools are far more advanced, Impressive tools. their feature tools list below:
- Product-Level Tools
Advertise in new, targeted ways with our cutting-edge suite of tools.
- Robust Reporting
See sales instantly, right when they happen – not in hours or days.
- Powerful API
Build your own tools on our best-in-industry API.
- Paid Placement
Create a new revenue channel and sell your ad spots to merchants.
- Dynamic Deals
Get active sales, coupons, and promotions.
- Affiliate Link Encoder
Convert all of your links to referral links automatically.
- Custom Tracking
Easily add custom tracking links to any page in seconds.
- App Market
Grow your toolset by using third-party tools.
Plus, their support service is quick response and answer the questions for the first time.
But vigorous QA processes and full vetting to select quality partners to ensure the best affiliate partnerships, means that not everyone can join the affiliate easily, only 30% of applicants are approved at AvantLink. No mass affiliate applications or reapplying after initial denial. If you are new and don’t have a large amount of quality traffic on your website, it is better not to waste much time on this affiliate network.
The commission will depend on the affiliate programs you join in. AvantLink pays affiliates on the 25th of each month. payment method includes wire transfer and PayPal, paper checks no longer available. You can also withdraw your available balance on-demand via direct deposit.
Payments will include any commissions, bonuses, paid placement earnings and Cost Per Click earnings that have been paid for by the merchant. they will not pay for you until the merchant pays for them, so the payment will not be on-time depending on the merchants’ payment terms. The default minimum threshold is $50. You can update your threshold via the “Business Settings” changing from $25 – $1000+.
AvantLink is thought not a perfect affiliate network, and it is hard to apply for, but it is also worth for you to join for another affiliate marketing revenue to access to top branding merchants and enjoy their feature tools. there are so many high-quality niche products in all categories for you select to promote, you can check the background, commission rate, cookies duration, and other qualification requirement and determine whether to apply for their inner affiliate program of the merchants,
Fexoffers is a popular and award-winning affiliate network with top global brands and niche advertisers which offer thousands of affiliate program up to 12,000+ and provides comprehensive solutions to both advertisers and publishers, categories include Automotive, Business, Career, Clothing and Accessories, Consumer Electronics, International, Digital Products, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Finacial Services, Health and Wellness, Home and Garden, Insurance, Legal Services, Lifestyle and Recreation, Media and Mobile, Online Service, Seasonal Promotions, etc. OVER 1,000,000 PRODUCTS AVAILABLE, it is free to join FlexOffers.
Whether your affiliate network application was declined or not depend on legal requirements and the requirements of their advertisers. they will determine whether you have your own website that offers valuable and original site content not found elsewhere, excellent rankings from Alexa and/or Google, and a good match to their advertising Niche programs. If you don’t promote from a website, they will determine base on the volume and detail of the answers you provided.
The FlexOffers allow publishers or affiliate marketer to use cache technology to search millions of links for the newest products and promotions at lightning speed.
Through the FlexRev-$hare program, you can refer publishers and earn up to 50% of the FlexOffers.com profit. FlexOffers pays publishers on a NET 30 basis, and top performers via NET 7. they offer multiple payment methods include Check, Local Bank Transfer, International ACH, Wire Transfer, PayPal, the minimum payment threshold is $25. but the minimum payment via Wire Transfer is $1000.
They offer details report such as clicks, Earnings Per Click (EPC), transactions, conversion rates, and commissions rate, that is filtered by a specific date. You can also review a graph of your website trends for clicks, item sales volume, and revenue you get. another report like IP FILTERS, REPORT FEED, MAPS is available to check.
Their experienced support team can be contacted directly via phone or email to provide services as needed, plug an FAQ session to solve the problem you meet.
But this affiliate network didn’t offer professional affiliate marketing training or course for affiliate tips and tutorial to get more revenue, you need to learn from other community. FlexOffers is still a great affiliate network with a huge amount of superior merchants in a variety of category in any niche, its feature dashboard, and detail report and it is user-friendly. If you want to develop more affiliate network to get rewards for your blog, FlexOffers is worth to join in.
If you still confused on how to start with affiliate marketing, or How to make money with a blogging for beginners, Wealthy Affiliate is your best community to learn affiliate marketing, it is a unique and comprehensive platform for affiliate marketers, a great place to learn while earning.
Before your success in affiliate marketing, it is better to do more research and review a list of top affiliate networks before joining and invest in. If there are many negative reviews and complaint with that affiliate networks. There is no need to waste too much time on it. This list of 8 top affiliate networks is very popular and large enough to offer so many superior merchants that you boost your passive income in a positive way. You can have a try and continue to drive your website traffic, subsequently, you will get tons of rewards for these affiliate networks.