What Is a Mark Verifying Authority?


A Mark Verifying Authority (MVA) is a trusted third-party authority that provides the capability to verify ownership of a BIMI logo for a domain. An MVA will issue a BIMI certificate, known as a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC), to a domain owner after it is proven they hold the rights to the logo image being used. The MVA may choose to uphold and confirm the meeting of certain indicator standards (i.e., size, content, trademark, etc.).


What Do MVAs Provide?

BIMI certificates are a type of public key certificate similar to the Extended Validation Certificates (EVCs) that confirm the authenticity of a website. The vetting by the MVA will include all the requirements for obtaining an EVC, which is the strictest of three levels for proving domain ownership. Moreover, an MVA will produce the needed and aforementioned VMC for businesses using the BIMI protocol. A VMC is required to prove the logo’s overall legitimacy and rightful owner. The MVA will also stringently inspect all relationships between the domain name and the associated logo.

Note: VMCs aren’t currently utilized with BIMI pilots due to not being fully standardized yet, but they’re expected to become a requirement because they’re a scalable way to guarantee that corporate logos aren’t used fraudulently. To that point, MVAs are only recently beginning to test these required certificates, so progress is being made on the finalized BIMI front.

Assertion Records and Related Tags

BIMI is an industry-wide standards effort to use brand logos as indicators to help email recipients recognize and avoid fraudulent messages. An MVA is used to confirm and certify the ownership of a company’s chosen logo for display in a recipient’s inbox.

To adopt BIMI, domain owners need to add a BIMI record, which is a type of DNS TXT record stored in subdomains named “_bimi”. For example, the owner of “domain.com” would create their BIMI record at “default._bimi.domain.com”. All BIMI preference data made by a domain owner is known as an Assertion Record.

Pertaining to the MVA, specific tags are used as the initial valid BIMI tags, with the “a” and “l” tags working together to validate the record. The MVA is responsible for verifying the “l” tag logo and will then generate the required VMC in the “a” tag section. Moreover, the “a” tag is a reserved value and refers to Trust Authorities. It should describe which type of MVA is used.

Ensuring your company’s email delivery is the best version of itself not only protects your brand, it also protects your customers. The DMARC and BIMI standards are trailblazing a path for you to safeguard your outgoing messages. At MxToolbox, we specialize in providing your company the knowledge and knowhow for all-things email. Let us help you reach your full email deliverability potential.

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