Nominations are now open for the first annual Crunchies, the competition and award ceremony to recognize and celebrate the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year. The Crunchies is a collaboration project between GigaOm, Read/WriteWeb, VentureBeat and TechCrunch. It promises to be a great show!

What I like about the Crunchies is that it's all about startups and innovation. We're aiming to recognize things that are important to startups - web innovation, best bootstrapping, best use of viral marketing, and so on. There are also product type categories - e.g. mobile, video.

So how can you participate?

1) Nominate your favorites

Starting today through Wednesday, December 12 at midnight pst, nominate the companies and products you believe most deserve industry recognition for achievements made in 2007.

2) Vote on finalists

The Crunchies Committee will choose five finalist companies for each award category based on the nominations submitted by the community. Voting will start Monday, December 13 and will be open for approximately one month (just give us enough time to engrave the awards).

3) Join the ceremony!

The Awards Ceremony will take place on Friday, January 18 at the Herbst Theater across the street from City Hall in San Francisco. It's an elegant, old world theater with 900 seats that will help give the awards the air of importance we believe they deserve. Seating will be reserved for finalist companies and event sponsors. A limited number of tickets will be available for press and the general public. Stay tuned for more details on the evening festivities.

So start nominating the startups you think deserve recognition; and feel free to use the comments of this post to shout them out - or promote yourself even, but you may want to give some reasons ;-) You can also grab a badge from here to promote the event.