Revision with unchanged content. On the one hand, the Internet increases information transparency for consumers – they are now able to obtain objective, trustworthy information on retailers’ existence and reliability as well as on products and services in real-time, at any time from virtually any place in the world. On the other hand, the Internet provides tools to businesses to strengthen their consumers’ bonds with their brands, e.g. through offering platforms for consumers to engage in brand-related behavior for fun and entertainment during their free time or through offering businesses the opportunity to personalize offerings for their customers. For the first time, this book analyzes and describes the roles that both brands and the increased information transparency play in purchase decision processes. It gives answers to a wide range of questions: Does the Internet empower consumers in a way that strengthens or weakens functions of brands? Can information substitute brand functions? Are brands becoming even more important in the age of empowered consumers? What are the impacts of this development on brands, on intermediaries and retailers, and on prices and product quality? And what are the implications for brand management?