We block Google Analytics (corporate policy). We have a few 3rd party Windows applications that ping Google Analytics when users sign-in, or when help is opened. Unfortunately since we are blocking Google Analytics these features don't work...

I've contacted the vendor (AutoDesk), but so far their only solution is to unblock Google Analytics.

What I am looking for is a way to trick the application into thinking that Google Analytics is working, even though it's blocked. Thoughts?

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    How are you blocking it? Via DNS? IP range block on firewall? ....? – mulaz Jan 3 '13 at 17:32
  • @mulaz - I'm not the one doing the blocking, so I'm not sure. The block page comes from our Proxy server, shows the URL, and just tells me that I'm not allowed to access it. – Peter Jan 3 '13 at 17:40
  • Better question... why are you blocking it? I get its a corporate policy but why is an application pinging Google a problem? – Brent Pabst Jan 3 '13 at 17:51
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    @BrentPabst, that's beside the point of this question. Doesn't matter why the policy exists. Peter is looking for a way to get GA to work, not if he should change corp policy. – Mxx Jan 3 '13 at 18:17
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    @Mxx Sorry, I disagree, as does voretaq7 below. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to block Google as no confidential information is transmitted. The idea here is to provide the best possible solution to a problem, in this case policy has caused a rather stupid problem. I would hope Peter is able to talk to management and have an intelligent conversation about corporate policy, especially for something that seems to trivial. – Brent Pabst Jan 3 '13 at 18:20

Your vendor is a freakin' idiot who doesn't understand the concept of "graceful degradation".
Please tell them I said so, and feel free to use more colorful metaphors (think Jersey truck stop).

Having said that, my suggestion is that you try to get Google Analytics unblocked -- it's by far the easiest solution, and probably no serious harm to your organization.

If you can't do that for Real Valid Policy Reasons ("It's SIPRNet you fool!") figure out what their app is doing -- unblock Google Analytics for a few minutes (or test outside your firewall) to see what it's hitting and what GA responds with, then mock up a server that always returns something the app considers a "valid" response.
You'll need to modify your proxy/DNS/firewall/something to send Google Analytics traffic to this internal page (make sure you document this hack), but it should work, until/unless Google changes what Analytics returns and AutoDesk changes what they expect to see.

Your maintenance mileage may vary -- this is obviously not a solution AutoDesk is going to support, and we can only offer you limited help with it as it's generally a Bad Thing to do...

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    It's not about graceful degradation. GA script is not expecting to be shoved a face full of HTML. Point GA's domain to an internal server that will always reply with HTTP 200 status should be enough to fool it. – Mxx Jan 3 '13 at 18:20
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    @Mxx A simple 200/OK may indeed be enough to satisfy the program in question, but respectfully, it is absolutely about graceful degradation. A program is expecting to be able to talk to Google Analytics, and when it can't it breaks in such a way that important features of the program (like help) don't work. The proper thing to do is shrug off the failure and work normally, minus the tracking features GA provides. IMHO this is a stellar example of bad software development and bad testing/QA - a "Google will NEVER be down!" mentality that caused customer-facing breakage. – voretaq7 Jan 3 '13 at 18:29
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    @Mxx what about when the client's computer is not connected to the internet? I bet it still fails. – Brent Pabst Jan 3 '13 at 18:29
  • @BrentPabst - The first thing I tried was adding a Hosts entry on the local machine to point GA to or You are correct, it still fails. – Peter Jan 3 '13 at 18:34
  • @voretaq7 - It may take me some time to test this, but I will post back when I know. – Peter Jan 3 '13 at 19:35

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