The Grouparoo Blog

Don’t Forget Your VPNs and Tracker Blockers

Tagged in Product Notes 
By Andy Jih on 2021-01-27

I was testing the new Intercom plugin that our team had built, and ran into a strange snag. When adding apps to Grouparoo, we have this handy “Test Connection” button that checks to make sure the connection details and credentials work. When I was testing this new Intercom plugin, something strange appeared this time around.

The connection to Intercom didn't work

I was testing locally, but the Test Connection button actually talks to an external API, so I was confused that the connection failed due to something from localhost.

Brian and I fiddled around with various .env variables, double-checked the Intercom Access Token, and poked around a bunch in Intercom settings to make sure that we didn’t mess up some permissions settings.

After we spent an embarrassing amount of time debugging, I remembered that I had Disconnect VPN installed, which blocks a bunch of various trackers and ad networks. I opened up Disconnect and saw that they’d recently added Intercom to their block list.

Disconnect blocked my connection to Intercom's servers

After I turned off Disconnect, I was able to connect to Intercom just fine.

With Disconnect turned off, Grouparoo could now connect to Intercom

This experience served as yet another reminder that as tools become more sophisticated at blocking ads and trackers like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Segment, front-end events will become less useful to businesses (and less creepy to the general public!).

Here at Grouparoo we help businesses better understand their customer data since we talk with their sources of truth. Additionally, Grouparoo's Events will look like "1st-party" traffic since we're self-hosted within your own cloud.

And this experience was also a reminder to always check your VPN settings when testing and developing. 😅

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