The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) has just announced that the 17th annual Webby Awards is now open for submissions, featuring new social media categories and judges, like Tumblr’s David Karp, Robert Scoble and Arianna Huffington.

Founded in 1996, the Webby Awards has long been known as a standard for the Internet’s best blogs, videos, publications, apps, etc (you can even watch Larry Page and Sergey Brin accept a Webby Award for Google in 2000). Now, the tradition continues with a new social vertical — something that’s been long overdue, if you ask us.

Here are a few of the new social-focused categories: Celebrity/Fan, Education & Discovery, Public Service & Activism, Experimental & Innovation, Overall Social Presence and Promotions & Contests.

IADAS [has] introduced a new Social vertical for this year’s Webby Awards. The Webby Awards has been honoring social media excellence for nearly a decade.  This new suite of social categories will honor the diversity of content, brands and people that use social media as a fundamental component of their identity and communication.

As for the new judges, the IADAS is bringing in quite an impressive list beyond the above names, including NY City Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, LearnVest Founder and CEO Alexa von Tobel, Code for America Founder and Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka, Fab.com Founder and Chief Design Officer Bradford Shellhammer and Laughing Squid Founder Scott Beale.

From New York City Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne:

I’m honored to become a member of IADAS. The Webby Awards are a homegrown New York City institution, and it has been thrilling to see their growth over the years as they celebrate the best of the web. In a time of so much digital innovation, I look forward to this exciting opportunity.

The 17th annual Webby Awards is now open for voting, and the early entry deadline closes October 26th. If you’re interested, you can apply to be considered via the link below. For the rest of us, hang tight to vote for the people’s choice award and see the 2013 winners (to be announced this April).

➤ The Webby Awards

 The 2013 Webby Awards opens for submissions, pushes social media and adds new judges