One of my favourite online services of all time is Dropbox. If you aren’t familiar with Dropbox, it is a program which you can download to your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) and it will seamlessly sync your documents with an online storage repository and any other computer you have Dropbox installed on. There is even Android and iOS apps for it, as well as a great web service, which has saved my life multiple times when I had left my Uni assignments at home. You will never need a USB stick again as long as you have access to a computer with internet.
Dropbox gives users 2 GB free to any new user, with the option to pay for their 50 GB service. There is also a referral scheme which allows you to refer your friends to get an additional 250 MB per referral up to a maximum of 8 GB (16 GB for paid users). However as much as I rave about this fantastic service, I had only made few successful referrals. That was until I came across this article.
The article describes using Google AdWords to cheaply get visits to his referral link, maxing his 16 GB for less than $10. I decided this was a worthwhile experiment, and I could do with some more space. So within minutes found myself signing up for AdWords and creating an ad campaign. The whole process took minutes to set up, and I gladly gave Google my credit card details. Yet my ad was pending as “under review” for a while after.
The next day, I looked back hoping to see some additional Dropbox space. Instead I had an email from Google, saying my ad had too many capital letters. Oops! Once that was corrected, I re-submitted and waited for the for the campaign to begin.
I let the ad run until my money ran out (I limited it to $5 a day in case I maxed out early). Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much luck. I exhausted my $20 in just over four days. I had over 30,000 impressions and almost 300 clickthroughs. Of those, 26 Joined Dropbox using my referral link, and only 10 fully completed the process giving my a grand total of 2.5 more GB. Not as much as I hoped, but this was an experiment. For science. See the screenshot of the AdWords summary below.
And so I still have plenty of space to gain. Luckily, I’m no where near needing that much space yet. So what did I learn? Well Google AdWords is actually pretty simple to use, and has it’s uses outside of advertising for large companies. I doubt I’ll ever use the service again but it’s handy to know, if I ever need a few clicks to a URL, AdWords is there. I wonder if this would work for web based voting competitions, where votes are based on number of visits or clicks…? A sinister thought perhaps, and an experiment for another time.