Per Christensson, President, Sharpened Productions, Inc

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Shot of the website Shot of the website
An AdSense veteran

Not many people can say they’ve been an AdSense partner for 20 years — but then again, not many people have made a site that’s remained relevant and helpful for two decades. Per Christensson started Sharpened Productions in 2003 with the goal of providing useful information about computers and the Internet. His most popular site,, now provides helpful information about 12,000 file formats, including what type of data the files contain and how to open them.

“We want to help as many people as possible with,” says Per. “So I decided early on that an ad-supported model would help provide free information to our users while supporting continued development of the website.”

After testing out a few other ad networks, Per turned to AdSense right around the time it launched in 2003. He was immediately taken with the reporting interface, which he found intuitive and easy to navigate.

“I think the way that the AdSense team has designed the user interface is exactly how a publisher would want it to look,” says Per. “I love that AdSense offers easy setup and tracking, while Ad Manager provides added flexibility with third-party and in-house ads.”

Beyond the smooth interface and easy integrations, AdSense also quickly made his site profitable — nearly quadrupling his revenue. As an entirely bootstrapped site that wasn’t relying on external investors, achieving consistent ad revenue was a game-changer.

With money coming in, Per suddenly had the flexibility to leave his job at Apple and devote himself to the site full-time. Now armed with more time on his hands and more revenue to go around, Per was ready to think even bigger about the future of his business.

A page on the File Info site.
Expanding team, expanding ambitions

Once ads jump-started his revenue, Per’s first move was adding employees to the Sharpened team. He first hired Steve, a crucial team member and the site’s lead software engineer. Then he brought on Kellen, his lead content producer. Adding content was when the site really started to grow — so he decided to hire two more full-time content producers. Fast-forward to today, and is supported by an 8-person team.

“The site is much bigger than just me at this point,” says Per. “It’s gratifying to know the ad revenue doesn’t just benefit me, but also my employees, and it has enabled them to push their careers forward.”

More recently, Per brought on two app developers to help build file viewing apps that complement the content on Now a user can come to the site, learn about the file they need to open, then use one of Sharpened’s file viewers to open the file. Per and his team have even integrated ads into their Android app with help from AdMob. They just released version 5 of their Windows app “File Viewer Plus” a few weeks ago.

“Creating software like this wasn’t even on my radar when I started,” says Per. “But after years of successful ad monetization, we’ve been able to break ground on ambitious projects and revenue streams that we hadn’t considered before.”

“I love that AdSense offers easy setup and tracking, while Ad Manager provides added flexibility with third-party and in-house ads.”
Building trust with users

Whenever Per and his team incorporate ads into their products, they take a thoughtful approach.

“We've always tried to maintain a healthy balance of content and ads,” says Per. “I think our users notice and appreciate that. We don’t force them to buy anything, purchase a subscription, or make donations — so simply supporting our content with ads in a relevant, unobtrusive way we can provide our information for free.”

It seems to be working — users keep coming to for their file format needs. And they aren’t shy about letting Per and the team know just how much their site helped them safely navigate a tricky file.

Whether it’s a student in Italy calling Per “AMAZING” (yes, in all caps) for helping her with a tricky .zip file, or a satisfied software engineer grateful for the help he found on Per’s Tech Terms glossary, he never gets tired of reading compliments from happy website visitors.

“AdSense has helped Sharpened Productions grow into the company it is today. But revenue has never been my top priority. When I started out, I just wanted to create something meaningful that would help people and make a positive difference in their lives,” says Per. “Two decades later, that’s still our goal. And we want to be the best at what we do. Whenever we publish content on our sites, it needs to be accurate, easy to understand, and helpful to the user. That keeps people coming back.”

About the Publisher

Per Christensson has been a technology aficionado since he was a child. After years of being the "tech support guy" for his family and friends, he launched his first computer help website in 1999. Today, he runs Sharpened Productions, a Minnesota-based company whose mission is "to develop original, high-quality websites and software programs that are helpful and easy to use."

Per has a B.S in Computer Science and a B.A. in Communications from Wheaton College, IL. logo