I've been doing a bit of testing across different browsers including Maxthon, with or without host file, and numerous browser specific settings. (KIS' Anti-Banner turned off for most tests unless specified.) My conclusion is the way pages display are either browser and/or site dependent, and nothing to do with the host file as I originally thought.
Take Maxthon for instance. With a host file and its own ad blocker turned off, betanews looks like this:Click to view attachment
With Maxthon's Web Ads Blocker enabled, the same page looks like this: (I didn't untick the option to replace the blocked ad with the default text in Options - this is probably why Don has a small space in his screenshot.)Click to view attachment
Without the host file, Maxthon's own ad blocker results look like the second picture. If you turn off their ad blocker and use KIS' Anti-Banner, you get this:Click to view attachment
All these tests don't prove a great deal as there are variations even with some sites. For example, using Maxthon with their ad blocker off and a host file, 123greetings looks like this:Click to view attachment
But with Maxthon's ad blocker on, it looks exactly the same! With their blocker off, no host file and KIS' Anti-Banner on, it looks like this:Click to view attachment
At the end of the day, people will only notice differences when they start using alternative browsers. It's clear Firefox presents the server messages with a host file, but others don't even though they may display things differently depending on their settings or whether they have their own ad blocking mechanisms. Even those act differently under certain situations. It's also apparent it depends on which site you go to and how that has been coded.
Back to testing KIS' Anti-Banner tho.