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The debate rages on as to when, how and how much online content brands can charge for subscriptions. But don't look for a resolution anytime soon.

Finance-related brands such as The Wall Street Journal are having some success targeting an audience used to paying for this genre of content in other media.

But delayed launches of pay areas on Playboy, Entrepreneur and other sites make us wonder if the more general media brands can succeed at charging for content online.

Personalized versions of sites, with their clunky agent-based technologies and see-through target marketing interfaces, still have a long way to go before users will pay up for them.

Microsoft's deal to provide free access to a variety of content sites, including the Journal's, with its Internet Explorer browser, ultimately will do little to shift consumer attitude.

We agree with Forrester Research's prediction that subscriptions will account for less than 10% of publishers' revenue streams for at least two more years.

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