Naming and shaming: Dropbox (or ‘How not to build brand loyalty’)

If you don’t want to read a bit of a rant/whinge, you may want to skip this post…

I was a fairly early adopter of Dropbox. For those who’ve never heard of it, it’s the forerunner of such cloud storage services as Microsoft’s Onedrive (formerly Skydrive), Google Drive, Box, Copy and so on.

dropbox front page

From early on it offered a straightforward folder syncing process as well as a good web interface. Although the basic amount of storage offered was 2Gb, that wasn’t too bad at the time and it also gave you the opportunity to earn bonuses through referrals and occasional other treats.

To give some context, Dropbox still only offers 2Gb as basic storage, whereas:

  • Onedrive offers 15Gb,
  • Google Drive offers 15Gb (this doesn’t include native Google Docs, but does include attachments in Gmail, and Google+ Photos)
  • Box offers 10Gb, and
  • Copy offers 16Gb

When Dropbox got going on Android, it provided a great auto-backup for photos taken on phones or tablets, allowing you an extra 500Mb storage for every 500Mb of photos uploaded. It was straightforward and painless.

Then they decided to introduce Carousel as a separate app which handled the photos within the Dropbox storage, but limited your bonus to 3Gb extra for using it. I huffed a bit, but the app worked well, so thought no more about it.

With these bonuses, I managed to up my storage to a respectable 12Gb.

Two years ago, Dropbox ran the Great Space Race competition for students and staff who had an academic email address (as I did). It was a set of clues, each of which gave you some extra storage. The total for completing was 15Gb.

I’ve often come close to filling my 27Gb of Dropbox space, especially as I back up a lot of photos. I was therefore very disappointed a few days ago to receive this email telling me my extra 15Gb from the Great Space Race would expire next month and that I should think about buying extra storage from them (which doesn’t work out that good value compared to the other major offers). Unfortunately, they’ve damaged my loyalty to the brand with this and I’m seriously thinking of going elsewhere (I’ll certainly have to move all my photos at least).

email from Dropbox


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