What is a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC)?


A Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) is a digital certificate that certifies the authenticity/ownership to display a BIMI logo.  A VMC is used as part of a BIMI Record, which allows senders to display their company's logo directly next to email messages at inbox providers like Yahoo! and in early 2020 Gmail as well. The purpose of the VMC certificate is to add another layer of authentication and trust to BIMI records to ensure no spoofing/phishing operations can attempt to fake a company's valid logo. 

How does a VMC work in a BIMI Record?

When an inbox receives an email message, the mail server will perform standard authentication tests (SPF, DKIM, & DMARC). If the message is DMARC Compliant, then the server will check if the sending domain has a valid BIMI Record and validate the BIMI Record.

When it comes a VMC, the mail server will take the URL specified in the l tag, which is the location of the logo image to be displayed. If that tag is valid, then the server will take the URL from the a tag, which specifies the location of the Verified Mark Certificate, and check if the certificate validates the published logo. If it is verified by the VMC, then the BIMI logo can be displayed next to the message in the inbox of the recipient.

Who Created the VMC Option?

The VMC technology was co-developed by Entrust Datacard—a provider of digital verification solutions—and the BIMI AuthIndicators Working Group—a committee of companies (such as Google and Verizon Media Group) aiming to increase the use of authentication to reduce email fraud.

Together, these two reputable entities are leading the BIMI standard to heightened levels of protection to safeguard email users against harmful phishing, spoofing, and spam attacks worldwide.

Why Are Verified Mark Certificates Important?

VMCs are critical for businesses that want to enhance their online reputation and demonstrate the quality of their products. By providing a level of security to delivered emails, companies that adopt the BIMI and VMC standards reinforce trust among their clientele and create a sense of confidence in their brand. In other words, VMCs put your customers’ minds at ease.

Who Is Currently Using VMCs?

In a recent announcement, JPMorgan Chase has become the first institution to unveil its use of the Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) practice. Even more recently, the DigiCert enterprise announced it issued the first VMC for a domain that sends email at scale. The recipient? CNN, which becomes the first company ready and willing to participate in upcoming BIMI pilots that require validated logos.

With the growing utilization of BIMIDMARC, and other email authentication standards; businesses will be able to improve their online reputations via email delivered to inboxes and combat email fraudsters. These authenticated messages received by current and potential customers are instantly recognizable and trusted brand marks. At MxToolbox, we want to help your company achieve its email deliverability potential.

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