crunchies-awardNow that the end of the 2009 is in sight, it’s time for you to start thinking about the year’s coolest companies and products, and to tell us about them — because we’re opening nominations for the third annual Crunchies Awards.

Just like we did for the past two years, VentureBeat will be co-hosting the awards with TechCrunch and GigaOm. You can submit your nominations here; we’ve added categories like “Best VC firm” and “Best PR” to established categories like “Founder of the Year,” “CEO of the Year,” and “Best New Startup.” And if you think you deserve of a nomination of your very own, grab a badge for your website so you can ask your fans to vote for you.

Nominations will close at midnight Pacific on Dec. 4. A committee will sort through them and choose the five finalists, then the top winner will be selected, again, by reader votes. (We got more than 350,000 votes last year, plus 170,000 nominations.)

Stay tuned for more news about the finalists. The awards themselves will be held on Jan. 8 at 7:30pm at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Expect some big-name attendees, as well as a huge party afterwards.