Innovation That Matters

File transfers made pretty, thanks to background ads

Work & Lifestyle

Anyone who spends a lot of time online will have used a file sharing service to send large files to friends or colleagues, or maybe even to download a music track or two. While functional (and free), those services aren’t harbingers of style or user-friendliness, bombarding users with off-target banners and frequent prompts to upgrade to premium services. Which is why Dutch startup WeTransfer thinks there’s money to be made by offering a more appealing alternative. WeTransfer’s feature list isn’t unusual: it’s free and allows users to send big files (up to 2 GB) without registering. Files are available for two weeks, and can be transferred to up to twenty people. The main difference with other online file transfer services is WeTransfer’s approach to design and sponsorship. Like its competitors, the company relies on advertising for revenues. But instead of running questionable banner ads, WeTransfer sells wallpaper advertising—those pretty pictures in the background. Since WeTransfer’s own interface is minimal, that leaves a lot of space for a sponsor’s brand. (The screenshot above shows a wallpaper for Blyk, the mobile network operator we’ve written about in the past.) In addition to buying wallpaper space on WeTransfer’s main site, companies can also sponsor their own channels—Blyk, for example, can send its audience to No stranger to this flavour of online advertising, one of WeTransfer’s founders is lifestyle and music blogger Nalden, whose design-heavy has sold wallpaper space to brands like Nike, Vodafone and Apple. The lesson here? Take an existing service, make it more enticing for consumers and, with a little coaxing, brands will follow. Oh, and don’t forget the free love!



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