I was very frustrated as well (I got my key last saturday) after one week of subscribing to sites I probably never visit again, the d3db fiasco and some pretty exhausting "time zone - alarm clock rings at 4am"-stuff.
I never even once made Blizzard responsible for my stress and my anger Not because I am a mindless fanboy, but simply because they were just handing out the beta keys. What they accomplish by that in my oppinion is the following:
-They strenghten their fanbase by giving Fansites the opportunity to get new users, free (and in the case of a game like Diablo 3) huge advertising-options.
--> Sites with more users, maybe even a bunch of new regulars get more money from adds can offer better content, maybe creating more longterm players.
+They repay their fansites for the advertisement Diablo 3 gets from them just being there. If needed or not it seems like the right thing to do, doesn't it?
-They increase the hype - if they have to or not, if its intentional or not doesn't matter, that these last 1,5 weeks increased the hype a lot is a fact. I even told my friends (who gonna buy the game even though some of them never played a Blizzard game) about the contests and how crazy it is - to name a small scale example.
-They are inviting a greater variety of players into the beta, maybe someone who never played a Blizzard game - and to say this is a bad idea is just wrong, because of course they are also aiming to get new players to play their game and some feedback there might be nice as well. (this is a weak point, i admit that)
Those are pretty decent reasons to give away _a few keys_ - compared to the 100.000s given away already and I actually doubt they totally had to give away this number of keys somehow to make their beta more efficient - I would rather think of it as a bonus for accomplishing the reasons above.
Now how these fansites handle it - that is another story. Poorly, greedy, shameless, clueless are a few words that pop into my head when I think about some of them.
Nevertheless there were Keys given away by simple lotteries (blizzplanet, Force, reddit)
and there were creative things
(ingame.diablo - write in less than 100 words why you deserve a key, every message will be read and the most deserving win - yes they read 7000+++ for giving out 100 keys;
reddit stream event: -not counting the stupidly ingame-posted ones - Its totally understandable for a site to want to get something out of it, and if they force you to watch the steam and you hate it, but like 40 people like it and stay, its worth it)
And there were plain idiotic events
(d3db, cvg - though they are giving out A LOT of keys, i saw many people win already)
So let me take all that into account what I wrote and I can conclude 3 points:
-This is the wrong place to whine about the way the sites give away their keys. Maybe consider going at it from a different angle and asking Blizzard to interact more with their fansites, showing responsibility and deciding on the giveaway methods together. If they did that, there would never have been publicly posted keys that got banned afterwards because to many users tried to claim it/sore loosers reported the keys as stolen.
-The keys are there for fansite advertisement and strenghtening of the fanbase and IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY WITH FANSITES GETTING BETA KEYS TO GIVE AWAY. The fact that there are just so incedibly many people who want to get one, does not change the basics of how beta keys given to fansites work. I doubt I will continue using d3db because their contest actually drained the life out of me, but I found myself stuck in the reddit-irc chat and I again realized what an amazing site my ingame.diablo is. I even met about 3 people throughout the events with whom I will stay in contact with, one of them I can already count as good friend (in internetterms).
-The biggest problem is neither Blizzard nor the fanpages - its you. Including me that would make the tens of thousands of people that were or still are trying to get a beta key, I simply think Blizzard as well as a lot of fansites hugely underestimated the numbers, didn't you too? This underestimation was influencing the number of keys given to those sites as well I guess. That can have a bad or a good consequence Blizzard decides to throw in some more to create a fair spread or they realize oh damn, we don't want to make a server stress-test THIS big - we'll have to seize giving away keys at some point. But looking at the estimated amount CVG is giving away, I would guess they they went for the first one.
I say it again: IF they NEEDED the numbers of players that got in through beta-key-contest for their beta, they WOULD HAVE given those keys away on the battle.net. And: Its not a demo - its a beta, you most certainly have to "right" to get it, as harsh as it sounds.
I am happy to have one, and when they fix my login bug i might be able to play tonight - I also wish you the best of luck in the contests.
Edit: Some typos, I hope I made it easier to read, added 1 or 2 sentences, not a native speaker so sorry for possible mistakes
Edited by D3BETA on 28/02/2012 13:10 GMT