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DigiCert Issues Verified Mark Certificate to CNN, Laying Crucial Foundation for BIMI Email Standard

October 2019 by Marc Jacob

DigiCert, Inc. announced that it has issued the world’s first Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) for a domain that sends email at scale: With this certificate, CNN is the first company prepared to participate in upcoming pilots of the BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) standard that require validated logos.

A VMC is a new type of digital certificate that proves the authenticity of a logo tied to an email sender’s domain. VMC certificates are not currently in use in BIMI pilots, but they are expected to become a requirement, because they are a scalable way to ensure that corporate logos are not used fraudulently. Businesses have long sought ways to better identify themselves to customers in emails, and VMC certs for BIMI will enable verified brand marks to be displayed.

Yahoo Mail is currently running a pilot of BIMI; Google is planning its own BIMI pilot in 2020, though it has not provided specific timing or commented on whether VMC would be required. Other email providers are also expected to begin their own BIMI implementations in the coming year.

BIMI is a new standard that provides a secure, global framework enabling email inboxes to display sender-designated logos for authenticated messages. It allows domain owners to specify a logo that will appear in the inbox, alongside authenticated email messages sent from their domains.

BIMI will work only when both the email and the logo are properly validated. The email must be authenticated through the Domain-based Message Authentication, Receiving & Conformance (DMARC) standard with a policy of quarantine or reject; the logo itself will be validated by the VMC.

The VMC certificate issued by DigiCert for is the first such certificate for a domain used to send email to consumers at high volumes. This certificate puts CNN — which has already been authenticating its domain with DMARC — in an “all systems go” position for participating in BIMI pilots that utilize VMC next year. With widespread use of VMC, BIMI and DMARC, brands will be able to amplify their online presence in the inbox through authenticated messages to consumers that are instantly recognizable through known, protected brand marks.

DigiCert is ready to assist customers with pilot projects now and plans to have VMC certificates integrated into its DigiCert CertCentral platform by early 2020.

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