It happens when the deployer is invoked from within the Netbeans module I'm working on. It distributes a webapp without any Geronimo-specific DDs. Before the distribute command is executed, Netbeans starts up Geronimo (it's configured to run org/apache/geronimo/Server). It's a rudimentary integration since it uses bin/deployer.jar.
$ java -jar bin/deployer.jar --user system --password manager distribute C\:/Temp/WebApplication1/dist/WebApplication1.war
Error: Deployment failed, Server reports: No deployer present in