You know, I almost wrote a scathing overview of some recent comments made by the author of the Firefox add-in Ad Block Plus. He came off like a real jerk, which is bad enough, but he also seemed utterly clueless about the benefits of doing an IE version of his add-on. (I believe the rationale boiled down to "It's just too hard.") But whatever. I kind of let it pass.

Flash forward to today, and there's an interesting article up on Neowin about how one can implement an effective ad blocker in IE 8 using the browser's InPrivate Filtering. Turns out it's not hard at all. Because it's built-in.

IE8 actually contains a great Ad blocking feature built-in, it's called "InPrivate Filtering". The InPrivate Filter (enabled by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F) is intended to block content that may potentially share your information; thankfully advertisements are one such example of said content.

the InPrivate Filter is 'smart' in the sense that it can and will (if enabled) automatically detect content which appears with a high frequency on websites that you visit. In this regard, the Filter learns as you use the web and can detect what is an advertisement or of similar content, and take action accordingly. By entering the 'Manage Addons' window, you can select how many websites a piece of content must show up on before it is flagged, at which point you can then determine whether you want to block or allow such content.

Given the functionality of the InPrivate Filter, it seems that all that is required is a "Subscription List" containing the locations of advertisements for the filter to function as other Adblock applications. This is similar to a "Block List" in Adblock Pro and equivalent software. With such a list, it should be possible to simply block certain locations outright without relying on IE to learn from your browsing habits.

With regards to a subscription list that will block advertisements outright without having to 'learn' your browsing habits, I am in the process of searching for such. I have stumbled across this link where someone has compiled an XML file of the blocked URL's from Adblock Plus.

In order to Import these URL's into the InPrivate Filter, you must enter your "Manage Addons" window, accessible via Tools > Manage Addons. Click the InPrivate Filtering button, followed by Import and then locate the XML file. The result should be IE8 blocking content from said providers outright, without the need to learn via your browsing habits. Doing so has blocked about 99% of the advertisements I see while browsing with IE8.

Nice! And it appears to work just fine.

Thanks to Manos P. and Mitchel T. for the tip.