Dropbox is an awesome web-based service for syncing and sharing files, but despite how good it is, I’ve never really found a way to get it into my workflow.
I’m an independent freelance designer / developer, and I only use one computer, so I don’t need the ability to sync files across multiple machines. I also have my own server, so sharing files with others is very easy for me. But, the one thing that does often come up is the need to collect (large) files from clients who are not necessarily too tech-savvy. That’s where AirDropper is going to be very useful.
AirDropper is separate web-service that allows you to use your Dropbox account to collect files from others, who don’t have an account with either service.
Basically, you link your AirDropper account to your Dropbox account, and then simply generate a file-request through the AirDropper website. An email is sent to your recipient with a link to an upload form. They upload files, which are uploaded into your Dropbox account, and sync back down to your local machine. It’s extremely simple and straightforward.
It should be noted that the upload form is single-use, meaning once the person you sent a request to uploads some files, the form can’t be used again. This is actually an important feature. Since the files being uploaded are being synced (downloaded) to your local computer, you wouldn’t want that form to become public, or used some time in the future when you weren’t expecting to receive files. If you need more files from the same person, simply send a new request.
There are, of course, no shortage of file sharing services out there on the internet. But, it seems like most of them either require your client to sign up for an account, or the cost is a bit too high. In contrast, both Dropbox and AirDropper have free accounts available, and don’t require your client to do anything.
AirDropper is currently in beta, so we’ll see what final pricing ends up being. For now, this is the cheapest, and most convenient way I’ve found to collect files from others.
It should go without saying that you don’t have to be a freelancer to use these services. Anyone can use them to request files from anyone else.
Thanks to The Graphic Mac for the tip!
UPDATE: I just noticed that Dropbox has a referral program. If you sign up for an account using my link, we’ll both get an extra 250MB of space added to our account for free. Yay!