Although I think you’re better off not hosting your hot, hot beta launch screen yourself, if you simply must have complete control there’s LaunchEffect, a WordPress theme that recreates the complex process of asking for – and storing – email addresses of wannabe beta users.
The system supports three basic functions:
You can then track the most excited folks – the folks who referred the most people – and give them a special prize like a beta account, a goldfish, or a bag of onions.
LaunchEffect is free but a premium version adds an animated countdown, a more brandable experience, and a more formal blog layout. You can check out a demo of the premium version here. The premium version costs $35 for a single-site license.
Again, some folks like to have complete control and some like to cede a little control for proven performance. Either way, it’s a fun way to build a buzz.