New domain ControlCenter.App and project update

Sam Tuke Feb 27 2024 Share

By the time you’re reading this, Lightmeter Control Center will have a new home on the web domain After four years of being hosted on, the website has moved.


This change reflects a series of bigger changes that happened back in March 2022. Back then, the Lightmeter team had moved to a subtropical island off Brazil called Florianopolis six weeks previously, to take part remotely in Y-Combinator – the world’s top startup accelerator programme into which we were accepted.

While there, we worked intensely, day and night, to get more users for Lightmeter Control Center, and get feedback from those users on how we could monetize the software quickly, in order to impress the thousand plus investors that we would be pitching to on YC Demo Day at the end of March that year.

We tried everything we could think of to get more of the thousands of Lightmeter Control Center users to talk to us and tell us what new features they would pay for. We had had over 60,000 downloads by that point via various channels, and press coverage in some of the world’s most read technology news sites, including ZDnet, Heise, and Forbes.

We didn’t succeed. We could see from product usage data that people were installing, using, and getting value from the app – including one very large ISP in Europe, for whom Control Center single-handedly prevented an international incident. Hundreds of other companies had bruteforce and slowforce attacks by botnets thwarted every day by Control Center. But we could only get a handful of users, and mostly ones not relevant to our business, to respond.

Y-Combinator exposed us to some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, and we were lucky enough to get direct advice from the Collison Brothers (Founders of Stripe), Jared (Founder of Scribd), Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail), and many others.

After intense debate we decided to radically shift focus away from the original idea of Lightmeter Control Center. We launched a new email delivery service, powered by Control Center, aimed at other startups who were using email as a channel for sales messages to other businesses. From that point on our focus became providing a service instead of releasing a product.

We made this shift in order to drive commercial success. NGOs and Foundations provide wonderful and necessary services for humans all over the world. That isn’t the model we are pursuing. We are seeking impact driven by private investment. That required proving strong demand, faster than we had been able to do with Control Center, up to that point. Press attention is one thing. Money in the bank to pay salaries is another.

The new service had more paying customers (as opposed to non-paying users) in 5 days of conceiving the idea, than Control Center had managed in two years. Demand for the service has outstripped supply ever since. A new business was created after that time to manage the new service. The two projects are separate.

That new service is, as of today, two years later, now using the web domain. It keeps the “Lightmeter” name.

The future of Control Center

Since March 2022 Control Center has received very few updates, just a few maintenance fixes. The team still uses parts of the app internally, but increasingly we have moved away from it, replacing it with other dedicated services. Some components of those new services are also released as Open Source software. See our GitLab repos for mail-related libraries and tools that may be of interest. Thanks to Leandro for making that happen.

In future there will probably be even fewer, if any releases. We recently announced via other channels the shutdown of our old Peer Network which provided real-time adaptive security and other features to Control Center users.

Control Center is Open Source and everyone is warmly encouraged to reuse and fork the code for your own benefit.

This website will stay online so long as that’s viable (there are some dynamic components like the forum and interactive email network research explorer which will need mothballing). Let it stand here as a testament to the original Lightmeter goals and spirit.

Thank you!

We loved building Control Center. It was a wild ride. Thank you to the builders: Leandro Santiago, Suela Palushi, Marcel Franke, Nico Jean, and Cesar Werlich. Thank you also to our early financial supporters at NGI Zero (NLnet) and NGI Pointer (Aarhus Universitet). If you used, and especially if you gave feedback on or paid for Control Center: Thank You! And if you work in B2B sales: check out 😉

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