connect will go live once they have got everything else up and running correctly, they took it offline till they have everything sorted basically as once its up everyone will hammer the site to make/join clans.
you can get updates from http://www.callofduty.com/elite/status
or keep and bookmark my elite update thread http://www.callofduty.com/thread/100568688?start=0&tstart=0
which also has links to other infomation and twitter accounts for updates
I have had the same problems, I did notice when you hover over the connect link it says coming soon.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that the site will be problematic for another few weeks, you can't just flip a switch to add bandwidth or bring another server online, even more so
when they clearly did not think they would need to