Upgrading Dropbox to >16GB for 25USD

I love Dropbox and use it daily. From sharing project files and source code repositories in professional life to saving and synching my important personal belongings, I wouldn’t want to miss it.

For the services I like and use, I usually don’t bother paying for them. But in the case of Dropbox, just no plan seems right. I’m not even talking money here, but storage – the entry plan being 50GB. On my main machine(MBA 11″), I’m running a 128GB SSD – meaning that after having installed all necessary tools, I don’t even have 50GB storage free for things that I want backed up or synched. Since I can’t even physically use the plan properly, I don’t see myself paying for it. I would have been glad to pay for a 10GB or 20GB plan, though.

Not even having 50GB storage might seem very little space to the reader – or for my former self, that is. But for the stuff that I previously needed a NAS or even dedicated servers, I now have the cloud. Mail is on my private server (and backed up), music is on Spotify and Soundcloud, movies are in iTunes. The only thing I’m still hosting and managing myself are pictures.

Still, I wanted more than the 2GB storage that Dropbox offers for free initially. Luckily Dropbox offers up to 16GB extra space for bringing in referrals. Over the last year, I’ve gotten a few people to use Dropbox and got my account up to over 4GB. But then I thought that I could improve this process and set up an AdWords campaign.

Just one day later and having only spent 25USD, my Dropbox account is now 16.8GB.

Here are the details of the campaign. You can see that it only took a day to accumulate enough referrals.

dropbox adwords campaign

So now I can start putting more files into the bigger Dropbox.
dropbox storage

Update: As mentioned in the comments, Dropbox normally grants 250MB per referral. If you own an edu email address, however, they will give you 500MB – even retroactively. If you happen to live outside the USA and your university uses a different TLD, don’t worry – there’s a form to put your address, they will verify it and let you join the edu program.

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17 Responses to “Upgrading Dropbox to >16GB for 25USD”

  1. Patrice Neff

    Very clever, I love this idea!

  2. RK

    If you have a .edu email address, go to http://dropbox.com/edu and verify it. You would then be able to get 500 MB per referral as opposed to 250. It’s retroactive too. Your old referrals would be credited. :)

  3. Alain M. Lafon

    Hi RK,

    thx for the tip! Since I’m a lecturer, I actually own an edu address and used it in the process. I have also linked to the ‘up to 16GB space’ program from Dropbox where this is mentioned. Didn’t especially mention your tip, though. So thanks again for bringing that information to the post(;

    Best regards,

  4. Saar

    This deal is amazing and I am in for it…

  5. Dino Mueller

    With a normal (the free 2GB one) Basic Dropbox Account you can only get 8GB of referral space, 16GB only works if you already have a pro-account.


  6. Alain M. Lafon

    With access to an edu mail address you also get the 16GB.

  7. Mike

    Hehe, yeah I did the same, took me 3 days and 20 Euro. I am now stocking up on Bufferapp.com referrals. Takes a lot longer, but I now have about 10 after two weeks. Total cost so far is about 5 Euro.

    It should work for any referral service and you can learn a lot!

  8. Doug

    Curious to know. Did you paste you dropbox referral link in the adcopy? Is that okay to do that? I thought you needed a landing page or something.

  9. Alain M. Lafon

    Hi Doug,

    I did put the referral link into the ad. And as far as I am concerned this is a perfectly valid landing page.

    I realize that you actually are a Google engineer, so you probably know better than me. But what is your thought process when saying it’s not a good landing page?

    Best regards,

  10. Matt

    Superb idea…any hints on what text creative to use?

  11. Doug

    I’m not a google engineer, but from experience, they ban repeating offenders. There was this huge wave of bans for affiliate marketing a year or two back. I think you’re supposed to only link to domains that you own.

  12. Mike

    Fun :)

    Second time I’ve seen this idea the past year, so I tried it out. My results:

    In about 2 hours, spending $6, I got max referrals.

    I did 5 different ads with varied text, chose all over the world, all languages, and only in Google results pages.

    My bid was one cent higher than the lowest possible for each keyword.

    Awesome way to splash around the Adwords pool for a beginner (like me)

    Thanks for the motivational post :)

  13. Rusty

    What are those 3 other programs to the right of the dropbox icon in your system tray?

  14. Alain M. Lafon

    Divvy, Skitch, Minco.

    Awesome and extraordinarily important tools for my constant workflow.

  15. Dropbox uitbreiden via adwords

    […] Dankzij een tweet van @tijs kwam ik op een lifehacking trucje uit om je dropbox-account te vergroten met gebruik van adwords. […]

  16. Marcus

    Really Tks!! Your tip was wonderful. Since I’m a pro and .edu user, I got the max amount: 32Gb from referrals (and other small bonuses). It cost me only USD 2.8 (I already have ~5 referrals before). Gosh, how great this tip was. M.

  17. Greg

    I just used http://www.upgrademydropbox.com, I hassled with the Google ads but they may have been banned? This was like $10 and it worked quick. Good for anyone who doesn’t have the patience to set up adwords.