This Beta Madness Must End 25 May, 2006 — Stuart Brown
Under construction 2.0?
Google may have started a trend all those years ago in 1998 when even their search product was 'beta'. Particularly with the advent of Web 2.0 and the swathe of new sites, the term 'beta' has become very popular.
These beta declarations are no more than glorified 'This Site Is Under Construction' images - This Site Is Under Construction 2.0, if you will. I'm not claiming Google have stooped to similar levels - in some cases the 'beta' tag is justified, but it's a trend that seems to have caught on with a new generation of sites.
We all know the reasons why being 'under construction' is a bad idea - it only serves to irritate that most valuable of commodity, the visitor. If a site works as it should, and it happens to be in beta - great, no problems. However, when the term is used as an excuse for unfinished coding, content, lacking features, etc - as with the 'under construction' signs of the internet 5-10 years ago, then it becomes a problem.
Don't do it!
If you're a site developer - please - stop the beta madness! Programs and applications are one thing - you can control the release of those - but a website is by its own very definition 'released' the second it hits a public web server.
By all means, develop your site as you see fit - but don't hide behind what is essentially an 'under construction' sign by tagging your site with a 'beta' moniker.
- Google Products, many still 'Beta'
- Flickr, photo sharing site that recently moved to 'Gamma' status
- Article on ZDNet about persistent 'beta' sites