Dropbox's killer feature and the secret to its success isn't its simplicity, reliability, speed, platform support and so on. It's the referral bonus, users gain free storage space for every new user they bring in.
Up until now, users got 250 MB for every recruit, but with Google Drive looming, Dropbox has doubled the amount, now providing users with 500 MB bonuses.
These bonuses are retroactive, so any Dropbox user that has ever gotten a referral bonus will now see an increase in their available space. If you were wondering where all the new free space you just noticed is coming from, you now know.
"How much space is that, exactly? For every friend you invite that installs Dropbox, you’ll both get 500 MB of free space. If you’ve got a free account, you can invite up to 32 people for a whopping total of 16 GB of extra space," Dropbox announced.
"Pro accounts now earn 1 GB per referral, for a total of 32 GB of extra space. Have you already invited a bunch of people? Don’t worry. Within a few days, you’ll get full credit for every referral that’s already been completed," it added.
This means that, from referrals alone, you should be able to get 18 GB of free storage from the get go. But there are other bonuses as well, if you were lucky enough to test the Dropbox beta with the photo sync feature, you were able to get 5 GB more.
It's still possible to get a bonus for beta testing, but that's only if you haven't gotten the previous bonus and this one is capped at 3 GB. There's another 250 MB bonus for completing the getting started checklist. Another 640 MB can be earned by connecting Dropbox to your social media accounts. So you can get to 24 GB with relative ease.
Google Drive is said to come with 5 GB of free space by default. Google hasn't taken any chances with Drive and seems to have copied Dropbox through and through. As such, Drive will very, very likely have referral bonuses as well.
The pricing war seems to be even more interesting. Dropbox asks for $9.99, €7.49 per month, or $99, €74.90 per year for 50 GB. Google offers 20 GB for $5, €3.75 per year and 80 GB for $20, €15 per year. It remains to be seen whether Drive will be included in this or there will be separate pricing.