[Disclosure: DeHood is a sponsor of VentureBeat’s upcoming MobileBeat conference.]

I cover location-based services for VentureBeat, so I’m excited about our upcoming MobileBeat conference next week — especially since it gives me an opportunity to see how well the promise of location-based services holds up in a real-world test.

We’ll be testing out one service, DeHood, especially thoroughly. DeHood is all about bringing social networking and location-based services to hyper-local communities. And since the company’s one of the event sponsors, it’s going to be creating a special MobileBeat “neighborhood,” where attendees of the conference can check in, invite their friends, check out the buzz surrounding the event, upload photos, comments and so on. We’re excited to put the service to the test and see how well it’s able to handle all the activity from our attendees.

To make it fun, DeHood is going to allow attendees to unlock special “Scratchees” (virtual items that can be “scratched” by rubbing the smartphone’s screen with a finger) during the event for a prize: a free iPad. If you’re going to be at MobileBeat, you can participate by downloading the DeHood app and using it at the conference. The iPad will be given away at the end of Tuesday afternoon.

I’ll be testing out with the rest of the VentureBeat staff how reliable the service is indoors, what it takes for people to start and keep using it, what kind of unexpected use cases we can find for it, and how it works for a spontaneous community like a conference. I’ll also be reporting on how effective a service like this is for event organizers and participants.

If you’re not attending MobileBeat, stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted on how DeHood fares at the conference.

[Photo by JP Manninen]

Don’t miss MobileBeat 2010, VentureBeat’s conference on the future of mobile. The theme: “The year of the superphone and who will profit.” Now expanded to two days, MobileBeat 2010 will take place on July 12-13 at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Register now. Tickets are going quickly. For complete conference details, or to apply for the MobileBeat Startup Competition, click here.