If you don't care enough to spread the word about your account, then fear not, there is another, faster way to get your storage space maxed out on referrals. It won't cost you much or anything at all, and can be done in one to three days.
First up, I'm going to assume a few things about you. First is that you have a Dropbox account. If not, go to Dropbox.com and sign up. I'm not providing my referral link since I'm already maxed. Secondly, you need to install the desktop app. Finally, log into the site, and find your referral link. For your convience, I'll link to it. Just make sure you are signed in to DropBox before clicking this link.
Setting up AdWords with free credit
Alright, now we need to move on to step two. Get an AdWords account with Google. Once your account is active, you can click the following link to request a free $75 AdWords credit voucher. Please note that you need a website for this voucher to work. You might be able to use a Facebook fan page, but I don't really know. If you don't have any website to fill in, don't worry, because it costs next to nothing to get this done normally.
Note that some domain registrars have a free service active for their account holders for you to get a $100 AdWords credit voucher. Just contact them to find out. I have a few sites with Dreamhost. They give out $100 vouchers, as do GoDaddy.
You may need to call the 800 number to get them to activate your credit voucher. Some people wait for a couple of days to receive the e-mail. If you are impatient or do not want to call them for some reason, I've got you covered. It will cost you, but it's not much at all. Keep reading.
The first thing you need to do after signing in to AdWords is add your billing preferences. You must add a credit card, but they will not charge you unless you go over your voucher balance, which should not happen. Once you are done, go back to Billing Summary, and select More Actions. Paste in the promo code that Google sent you, and your credit will be applied to your account.
Your first ad
Alright, we've got everything ready now, so we need to set up your first ad. Go to Campaigns, then New Campaign. Name the campaign Dropbox or whatever you like. Tell it which language and locations you want. I used All Countries and Territories and English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese for my first ad since I speak those languages. Under Networks and devices, leave All Available Sites and All Available Devices selected.
The next part depends on whether or not you have a credit voucher. If you do have a credit, then keep reading. If not, then skip down to the next section, since you'll be spending a small amount of your own money.
For those with a credit balance:
Under Bidding and Budget, tick the radio button that says AdWords will set my bids, then set a budget of $20 per day for yourself. We don't want to burn through the credit too fast just in case. You should just leave all the rest of the blanks as they are for now. Click on Save and Continue.
For those without any credit balance:
Under Bidding and Budget, tick the radio button that says Manually set my bids, but don't enter anything in the default bid box. We'll set it in the next step. Then set a budget of $10 per day for yourself. We don't want to burn through your money too fast, now do we? You should just leave all the rest of the blanks as they are for now. Click on Save and Continue.
Creating the Ad
Now it's time to create our Ad. We're going to create the text of the ad now. Add in the headline of the Ad. This is the bold faced type on the first line. Put something eye catching like "Free DropBox Account" or "Free Online Storage." Obviously, free is the key word here. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS!!! Your ad will be removed. Just don't act like a spam bot and you won't be treated like one. Next, make two more lines of text under this. These lines are up to you as well. Make it something eye catching. Mention the 2GB of storage or "Sign up here" or something. Be creative.
The Display URL is just the text that will be displayed as the web address. www.dropbox.com is fine for this. The referral link for your personal DropBox account is what you will put in the Destination URL box. Direct link to this is at the top of this post.
Next up is the keywords. These will determine when your ad pops up. If someone searches for one of these keywords, your ad has a chance to show up to them. I suggest using "dropbox, storage, free online storage, online backup free, online backup, online backup data, and dropbox space" for now. Google may send you an e-mail later or offer suggestions as you type for other keywords. It doesn't cost anything to add keywords, so just add them all.
A higher CPC gives Google a bigger incentive to show your ad over someone else's.
For those without any credit balance:
I suggest setting the CPC low, around $0.05, so each click doesn't cost you much money. You might even want to go lower at $0.03 to save some money. More money per click usually equals more times your ad will be shown. More exposure get this done more quickly.
For those with a credit balance:
I recommend setting the CPC to auto, so your ads are more competitive. My CPC was automatically set to $0.86. I also allowed all the suggested keywords from Google's suggestions to increase the odds of my ad being seen and standing out.
How many ads?
Personally, I did two ads both with tons of keywords. Google suggested lots of keywords based on the few that I manually entered. I ran one ad in English and one in French. I did the French one since I had heard that French people like to see ads in their native language. I guess I can understand that point. Don't run more than three linking to the same thing or you run the risk of being shut down due to "spammy" advertising. Once your ads are all set, turn them all on and wait.
My ads took all of about an hour to finish up my referral pool when I did this four months ago. Now that this is more well known, it may take you a few days depending on how much money you've invested in each click. Remember that higher CPCs get you more views. You are basically bidding on ad spots. When your CPC bid is accepted, your ad will run for that spot until someone clicks on it, then it starts over again. Due to this, you will notice that your referrals seem to come in groups, rather than in a constant stream. You may get five referrals at once, then nothing for several hours.
If you followed these steps, you should still have some credit left. If you paid for this yourself, you might have spent about $10-$20 total on this.
Keep a tab open for Adwords and for Dropbox referrals. Refresh them every so often to keep track of how you are doing. You only get credit for 16 referrals, so make sure to stop your ads when you get to your limit. Do worry about changing the ads around during this process. It works, trust me. You just have to give it some time.
I can't stress to you enough how important it is to TURN OFF YOUR ADS WHEN YOU REACH YOUR CAP!!!!!!! Google doesn't know you have a cap. The ads will continue running and wasting your money if your referrals are full if you don't turn them off. Just log in to Adwords and pause all of your ads. Pausing them stops them from running and stops you from being charged. Don't delete them just in case you decide to upgrade to Pro, get a .edu e-mail, or they extend the referral cap.
Any questions or comments please let me know.