Is a unique visitor really unique? If other people browsing online are anything like Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson--who accesses the web from seven different browsers and multiple devices every day--chances are your web analytics software is counting people as a unique visitor more than once. "15 years after the advent of the commercial web, we still aren't measuring it well enough," says Wilson. In fact, a start-up called Scout Analytics found that even a "reliable cookie," which is dropped each time a perceived new user visits a site, overstates user count by two to four times. On the flip-side, panel-based approaches like the ones used by Nielsen are outdated and even looking at server logs can be misleading, Wilson says. Instead, he recommends triangulating between various (flawed) approaches to get as close to the real data as possible.
Stepping up your LinkedIn Group game. Though LinkedIn is one of the most popular social networking sites (it harbors over 55 million professional profiles), many of its users still don't take advantage of one of the site's key features: the LinkedIn Group, which is an effective way to share your industry expertise and market your company to potential employees, customers, and even investors. WebWorkerDaily has a recent post that offers some tips on how to make your group stand out from the rest -- and how not to scare off your group members. When starting your group, one piece of advice is to take a gander at the site's Group Directory and look for a gap in what topics or subtopics the other groups don't cover. And while it's essential to promote your group via other avenues, the post says, such as putting a link in your email signature and hyping it in your Facebook and Twitter updates, don't get too e-mail-happy and start bugging your subscribers. "I've left some groups and changed my settings for others because they sent too many messages that overwhelmed me more than helped me," the writer adds. To learn more ways to use social networking sites such as LinkedIn to grow your business, check out this article, part of Inc.'s Social Media Toolkit for Business Owners.
Augmented reality and fashion? Yes, please. Five-year-old watch company Nooka has made its mark up to now with a futuristic take on timepieces. Now, as TechCrunch sister publication CrunchGear explains, a contestant in an advertising contest has an idea to push the New York-based watch company into the augmented reality space. As this video shows, the idea centers around Nooka taking out magazine ads that include peel-off coded bracelets, which, when placed on a reader's wrist and displayed in front of a webcam, allow the person to virtually try on different watches. "It's honestly an amazing idea," writes John Biggs, "and someone better patent it before Trojan and Victoria's Secret get their hands on it."
Tweaks, not breakthroughs, at the Mobile World Congress. Although the New York Times concluded that the annual mobile technology conference that will wrap up today in Barcelona "lacked a true breakthrough device," there were a handful of new tweaks to be excited about. Mashable praises a new Google application that translates text in photos. In other words, you can take a photo of a street sign in Germany with your phone and "Google Goggles" will translate it for you. TechCrunch focuses on Opera for mobile phones with a video demonstration. Other noteable innovations included a smartphone by Fujitsu that has a keyboard that breaks off from the display; Powermat, a mat that can charge devices such as phones and netbooks without cords; and a solar-powered phone being sold by DoCoMo.
Google goes shopping again. Just one week after it bought an upstart rival for $50 million, Google is acquiring another start-up. This time the lucky company is reMail, which got its start in the Y Combinator program and which makes it easier to search for e-mails on Apple's iPhone. Founder Gabor Cselle blogs the news and notes that Google has decided to discontinue his company's iPhone app, a rather curious decision, which TechCrunch chalks up to competitive wrangling between Apple and Google over their dueling app platforms. "Yep, it looks like this may be another battle in the Apple-Google mobile war," the tech blog grouses.
How Google Alerts can help your small business. As a small business owner, you may already be familiar with Google Alerts, and if not, now may be a great time to check it out. Google's Alerts tool lets you set up as many notifications as you'd like, for as many topics as you'd like. Small Biz Trends has even highlighted six ways to get more from Google Alerts - advice which includes tracking keywords, such as the name of your company or products, to see who's talking about you on the Web. Or tracking your competitors, to stay fresh in your industry.
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey