Google has announced support for BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification). As the world’s leading mailbox provider—27.8% of worldwide mailboxes according to Litmus—Gmail can make or break a new email protocol or technology. This is a huge step for the BIMI working group and a sign of even greater things to come. Google is now the second major mailbox provider supporting BIMI. Verizon Media Group (Yahoo!, AOL) was the first, beginning their BIMI trial in 2018.

BIMI is a vendor-neutral standard that allows brands to display a verified logo in the receiver’s inbox next to fully authenticated emails. The intent of BIMI is to incentivize major brands to adopt proper email authentication—DMARC in particular—when sending mass messages to consumers. Senders who put in the effort to implement DMARC are rewarded with the display of their logo, similar to what appears for brands with a Google Plus profile.

Why do we need to “incentivize” this?

While setting up proper authentication as a sender isn’t rocket science, getting DMARC in place takes time, patience, and expertise. DMARC is a standard, open framework that allows brands (aka “senders”) to tell mailbox providers (aka “receivers”) what to do with mail that does NOT pass authentication on the sending domain.

The long-term goal for a sender is to enact a DMARC policy that specifically tells receivers to reject any mail that does not pass authentication checks on the sender’s domain, thus safeguarding against phishing and spoofing attacks which would otherwise appear to be “from” the domain in question. Because large businesses and major brands have many different streams of mail, there is risk involved: millions of emails could be rejected if this isn’t set up just right.

Feeling lost?

If you are new to email authentication, start by learning about SPF and DKIM, the building blocks of DMARC. These specifications are absolutely essential for any legitimate sender, especially if you have multiple different technology vendors sending email of any kind on behalf of your brand.

In addition to the resources linked above, SparkPost has the expert team to get your email up to snuff and on the road to beautifully branded BIMI emails! Contact us to get started today.

-Scott