I’ve written a new article discussing the concept of Beta Testing. It is available over on the Applied Logic web site (http://www.appliedlogiceng.com/index_files/Page1483.htm).
A lot of organizations that I have worked for in the past struggle with software beta testing. Everyone generally agrees that it is a good idea, but few companies really understand what it is, how to construct a successful test, and how to use the information obtained to have a positive impact on the product.
Give it a read and let me know what you think. Does it mesh with your experience?