I thought that the perma Beta thing was a bad omen for thoughtful product developers, but I've seen a few worse signs on the horizon the last few weeks: press releases with no news in them, re-launches of old products, and now "launches" with no launch. It makes perma Beta look like solid product development success.
Come on folks. Ship it. Then talk it up. And if no one is talking about your tired product, why not add something that is worth talking about? It beats a press release.
One of the first weeks I was at MSN I was given a chance to see a demo of an upcoming product. I was psyched that there was already a demo to see of this product - as I was imagining it would still be on the drawingboard. I sat down for the "demo" and was led through a Flash presentation by a product manager fueled with the right buzzwords. At the end he asked what I thought and my comment was, "that's great, but that's not a demo - that's a mock-up or a presentation - but it's not a demo". I lost confidence in that team because they were putting their work into a pitch and not a product. As Jason at 37 Signals likes to say, "Get Real".
It gives everybody a bad impression when your product "launch" is announced, they click through to the payoff page, and there is nothing there. Launching half the product is better than launching a half assed product to quote DHH, and there is nothing more half assed than "launch" that doesn't happen.