Building Add-Ons for IE Could Net You A Trip to Mix07 and $2500

Hey!  I’m Pete LePage, one of the Product Managers for IE and I’ve been around Microsoft for some time now. One of my favorite things about Internet Explorer is how easy it is to customize with add-ons. Earlier today, Jeremy posted about some of the cool add-ons recommended by the IE Team. Personally, I’m a bit of a developer at heart, so I’m more interested in creating my own add-ons to really customize my experience. Sure it’s a bit more work, but it’s cool to know I can make IE work exactly how I want it to work. The other cool part is getting to share the add-ons that I create with the rest of the world by uploading them to the IEAddOns site.

As part of IE7 launch, we want you to create your own add-ons, and I think we’ve got a great way to encourage you to do this. How about the best add-on submitted between November 1, 2006, and February 9, 2007, wins a trip to Mix07 in Las Vegas and $2500 cash? Yep, we’re going to run a contest open to the entire world[1]. We think we’ve got some cool prizes lined up, like this Mix trip, or a first prize of $2000. We’ve even got a couple of Zunes for the honorable mentions.

There are plenty of resources for creating add-ons within IE. The best place to start is the IE Developer Center on MSDN where you can find all sorts of information. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be adding more samples and additional documentation on how to create add-ons. About a year ago, Eric Lawrence wrote about how to write an add-on on the IE blog, that’s also a great resource. Additionally, the IE MSDN Forums provide a great place where you can ask questions and get answers quickly. The forum is monitored by the community and the IE team, so you may be able to get a little extra help there.

Full details about the contest, including more resources, can be found on the contest home page. I can’t wait to see what everyone starts creating!


PEte LePage
Product Manager

[1] No purchase necessary to enter or win.  This Contest is open to professional and amateur software development enthusiasts, however, residents of the following countries are ineligible to participate due to legal constraints: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.  Void where prohibited by law. See official rules and regulations on the contest website.

edit: typo correction: add-on the IE blog changed to  add-on on the IE blog, updated link to contest website

Comments (40)

  1. hAl says:

    Hmmm, this idea seems familiar to me.

  2. hAl says:


    Btw, is is of influence if the add-on is free or not and whether it has been certificated ?

  3. Philip Thomas says:

    If you are going to announce a contest, perhaps you ought to have the rules up, or even a way to enter. FYI.

    I’m going to enter the the contest, but I want to know if I can set my own price for my plug-in, sorry I mean add-on. My add-on will move the home and refresh buttons to positions where the user expects them and create a "File" menu in the upper left corner of the screen. I  figure $30 is a fair price to charge people for functionality they can get in any other browser. What do you think?

  4. Will says:

    @Philip: Somehow, I suspect that your development skills aren’t as sharp as your rapier-like wit.  What a clever poster you are!

  5. Johan Ericsson says:

    Are you sure Iraq is off the list?

    I’m pretty sure that with the fall of Saddam, all the embargoes against the country were lifted…

  6. Whenever I talk to customers who are huge FireFox users, they always comment on how great it is to customise

  7. El Bruno says:

    Buenas, un par de días despues del lanzamiento de IE7 después de leer a gente con poca moral que se queja

  8. El Bruno says:

    Buenas, un par de días despues del lanzamiento de IE7 después de leer a gente con poca moral que se queja

  9. Erwin Ried says:

    Somebody _MUST_ develop ADBLOCKER plugin for IE7.  I use firefox because the tabs, inline search and ADBLOCKER plugin.

  10. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    There are quite a few adblockers for IE on  In addition, you can use the HOSTS file to block ads (see  Lastly, a change was made in IE7 to prevent script from running if it was delivered by a site in the Restricted Sites zone (see

  11. hAl says:


    The addblockers you are referring to are mostly popup blockers.

    We need a serious blocker of javascripted, picture and flash ad’s.

    Nothing is more disturbing me from the content than those moving flash advert on the webpage.

    Preferbly one that blocks Google ads to, Those are less obnoxious as a most but they are like a virus that springs up everywhere.

  12. Matthew says:

    Placing moral considerations aside (a compelling case can be made that ad blocking represents theft) there are serious technical problems to any sort of adblocking concept.

    Think back– what pushed Flash advertising from being a minor annoyance to a major one?  That’s right, the XPSP2 release of the popup blocker.  Suddenly, sites found that their popup ads weren’t being shown anymore, and they naturally were forced to react in order to maintain a viable business model.  They reacted by building prominent advertising into the pages themselves, especially the horribly distracting Flash ads.  

    Now, if adblocking becomes popular in IE, ads will almost certainly become ~more~ of a nuisance (popunders at least popped under the page)!  

    Arguably, the best way for IE to win back share from Firefox is to add an adblocker, not because it will be effective for very long, but because once IE has an adblocker, no adblockers will work anymore.  

    Why not?  Think about it.  Every technique that is currently used to block ads (URL matching, host blackholing, dom manipulation, etc) only works because so few folks are using adblockers that sites don’t bother to work around them.  Each one of these adblock techniques could be defeated pretty trivially, and if IE has a good adblocker that’s used widely, sites will break the adblockers.

    Sadly, the only way to keep adblockers effective is to keep them out of the hands of the masses.

  13. hAl says:

    [quote]Now, if adblocking becomes popular in IE, ads will almost certainly become ~more~ of a nuisance[/quote]

    I guess you mean for non-IE users.

  14. r. decline says:

    personally i can’t bring myself to give myself a potential early heart attack developing for IE7.  making it read a website correctly is already bad enough.

  15. Matthew says:

    "I guess you mean for non-IE users."

    No, I mean, for everyone.  Sites will code around -everyone’s- adblockers, and it will just get worse.  For instance, they’ll have interstitial adpages that calculate a private key required to get to the next page.  Once you have an interstitial, you might as well force the user to see it for a certain length of time.  Etc.  

    Until there’s a business model better than advertising, building an adblocker is a fool’s errand.

    Heck, Microsoft should just build an adblocker to kill off their competitors.  Ads represent a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s revenue, but the vast majority of Yahoo’s and Google’s.  Brilliant!

  16. Pete LePage has been working on pulling together a contest to drive addon creation for IE7 and was able

  17. PeteL's Blog says:

    Wow, what a week it’s been. It’s funny, I remember when Keith moved upstairs to marketing, I watched

  18. hAl says:


    Still it won’t be more of a nuisance to IE users as they are already confronted with ads.

    Only users of adblocking software will notice a difference.

  19. Stuart says:

    id like an addin built that will make the size of a tab (width) shrink down to as little as 1/2" when there are lots of tabs open.

    With my command bar stripped of all but 1 icon and the favorite stuff, i can only get 18 tabs to display.

    I would like to not have to scroll sideways to find my tabs, this behavior is very kludge’y

  20. Jordie says:

    Someone please develop a version of NoScript for IE. It would solve so many woes when using IE. I beg of you developers!!!

    Oh wait, and make the damn thing free. PLEASE.

  21. Pete says:

    I was just thinking that an Adblock extension would be perfect for IE, and the comments agree.  As far as I’m concerned, Firefox’s Adblock extension is just about perfect.  It’s free.  It has a quick, easy interface.  You can right click on most anything, and block that element.  You can easily create your own patterns to block things.  An Adblock addon for IE would need to be and have ALL of those things.  Especially for free.  There’s no sense in paying $30 for an IE addon when FF has a competing equivalent for free.

    As far as Adblockers spawning ever smarter spammers, I think not.  How would web sites force us to view ads?  You mention them forcing you to click to view the next page.  Sites already do that, and those that do, I never go back to them.  If people put up with allowing the browsing experience to be crappy, sure, sote owners will make it crappy.  Take back the Internet!  If a business is worthwhile, they will make money with their own products or services.  There’s no reason we need to be overwhelmed with ads.  A *good* Adblocker for IE would be most excellent.

    I’m thinking that or a Greasemonkey type thing would be killer.  Even better if the greasemonkey script was able to use the same scripts between IE or FF.

  22. Matthew says:

    Pete: Look around.  Look at TV.  Tivo and other DVRs are killing television ads.  So what do they do instead?  The do obnoxious product placements in the shows themselves.  Or they just migrate the best programming to pay channels (HBO). Or they start putting advertising spots in front of theatrical movies, where the user doesn’t have control.  Or they work with DVD vendors to create hardware standards mandating an "unskippable" flag that they use for commercials on the first playback.

    The idea that you’re going to be able to "opt out" of advertising without some equivalent tradeoff is simply naive.

    Business exist to make money.  Experience has shown that users are not generally willing to pay for websites (e.g. and there’s currently no successful micropayment system.  But someone has to pay the bills.  The solution, of course, is advertising.  Advertisers are willing to pay for users’ attention.  If everyone’s blocking ads, advertisers aren’t going to pay the bills anymore.  

    The worst thing that could happen for those of us who hate ads would be for a good adblocker to come out and get popular.

    "Take back the web"?  As if the web would be anything near what it was today without the hundreds of billions of dollars invested in it… most of which was for one purpose– to make more money.  

  23. >How about the best add-on submitted between November 1, 2006, and February 9, 2007

    What about all the great add-ons that have been submitted during the IE7 beta phase, prior 1st November? Does a version update between those dates makes the add-on eligible for the contest?

  24. @Erwin Ried

    >Somebody _MUST_ develop ADBLOCKER plugin for IE7

    Actually, I have developed a free ad blocker for IE as a part of a research project and I am working hard to improve it further.

  25. hAl says:


    [quote]What about all the great add-ons that have been submitted during the IE7 beta phase, prior 1st November? [/quote] Not like there were that many were there ?

    Did you submit one ?

    And was that a completly new one or just one that you already created before (as I seem to remember you talked about compatibility for older add-ons)…?

  26. I would love to participate with my Quero add-on in the contest, but I have already submitted my plug-in after the IE team has announced the site on this blog.

  27. GF says:

    What we need is a simple way to build addons using script similar to what FF has.

    There is a huge learning curve to start building IE addons today and that is the reason why there arent many good ones out there.

  28. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @GF: IE actually has a number of options for powerful non-binary extensibility, mostly based around Javascript.  You can create buttons and context menus that run actions when you click on them:

    There’s also the Explorer bar mechanism which can host HTML & Script; this is how the Microsoft Office discussions toolbar is implemented, for instance.

  29. Could you explain to me how, in 2006, you could even consider building a site that doesn’t work with javascript turned off?

  30. goose says:

    no no no, IE doesn’t need anything like Adblock. Keep it ad-infested and virused!!

    Keep customisability low. Usability low. Webmasters can decide what’s best for the masses. We’ve always had it this way, and why should we change? My grandfather browsed this way, and his grandfather browsed this way! I prefer the simple life. I prefer to trust whoring companies; money-sucking, bandwidth-stealing, homepage stealing, usage-tracking – it’s all good for me! I view my world in Internet Explorer because it’s the best; it’s used by the most people, and that speaks volumes! I refused to believe so many could have made the wrong ‘choice’.

    IE is perfect as it is!

  31. GF says:


    Well, it’s really limited. You cannot build a fully fledged addon/plugin using javascript, and it’s something like that we need.

    I know there are security concerns but these can be addressed, it’s really only about making it easier to write addons/plugins.

    I know looking at FF is a sensitive subject but you waited so long with this new browser and that’s the main reason competitors are ahead of you on this subject.

    Please release an update for IE7 to support a scripting api for creating plugins and you will surely get a community creating great addons/plugins for IE7.

  32. GF says:

    @Chris Ovenden

    Are you serious ? You just answered that, it’s the year 2006.

    How can people in the year 2006 think they can turn off javascript and get a good browser experience ? That really amazes me.

  33. If you haven’t heard by now, IE7 for Windows XP & 2003 was released on Thursday last week! Congrats

  34. Kelly White says:

    From the IE Blog …The best [IE7] add-on submitted between November 1, 2006, and February 9, 2007, wins

  35. zi says:

    Does anyone know why IE7 can not be used with windows 2000?

  36. zi says:

    Does anyone know why IE7 can not be used with windows 2000?

  37. I have a great IE add-on – IeToolbox (  This utility is a secure Passwords Manager, Notes Keeper, Form Filler and File viewer, which runs in the IE side bar.  I’ve tried to get it added to the IeAddons site for a long time but I have found it impossible.  Why isn’t there just a "submit" software button on the page?

  38. I added the ish bit because while it may not cost you any money, it may cost you time. The IE team have

  39. develop an internet explorer addon

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