The Fallacy of the Level Playing Field Academic Article uri icon


  • The assertion that the web is a level playing field is examined employing cue utilization theory. This study examines the influence of the extrinsic cues of brand familiarity and web site vividness on consumer response (perceived retailer quality, believability and emotional response). The assertion that the web is a level playing field is founded on the belief that the extrinsic cue of web site vividness allows unfamiliar brands to compete against familiar brands. Results from this study indicate that although both extrinsic cues elicit a consumer response, the effects differ, thus challenging the level playing field argument. As such, this study provides for greater theoretical understanding of the recent collapse of many online retailers. Future directions for researchers and practitioners are discussed. © 2002, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Marketing Channels

author list (cited authors)

  • Griffith, D. A., & Gray, C. C.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Griffith, David A||Gray, Clifton C

publication date

  • January 2002