Congratulations on creating your BIMI record! At this point we’ll assume that you’ve created an SVG Tiny Portable/Secure (SVG P/S) version of your logo, you’re hosting it on a secure web server, and you’ve added the URL in your BIMI record. You’ve probably even confirmed that it passes the BIMI Group Inspector.
Great! … But now what? What if the new logo isn’t showing up in mailboxes?
It’s important to understand that there are two classes of BIMI records. The simplest is considered to be “self-asserted”, meaning that you publish your logo without it being verified as belonging to your domain. The only requirement for self-asserted BIMI logos is that they be in SVG P/S format. Some mailbox providers accept self-asserted BIMI records today (e.g. Yahoo!, AOL, and Netscape) and may begin to display the logo on qualified messages.
If you left the “a=” attribute blank in the BIMI record, you’ve published a self-asserted logo. As to when it’ll show up in supporting mailboxes, however, is up to the individual mailbox providers. Each of them have their own criteria for deciding which domains they enable for BIMI logo display. Some require that you send a large volume per day to establish a baseline reputation for your domain. Others will only display logos for well-known consumer-facing brands. The decisions are a mix of proprietary algorithms and heuristics that shift over time.
Some mailbox providers (e.g. Gmail) don’t accept a self-asserted BIMI record and require that the logo be “certified” as being associated with a specific company and domain. To address this, there are some organizations that have been authorized to act as Mark Verifying Authorities (MVAs) that vouch for the legitimacy of a proffered logo. These MVAs will verify the association of logos with domains, and issue Verified Mark Certificates (VMCs) that can be added to your BIMI record in the “a=” evidence attribute.
As of this writing, VMCs are only being issued to domains invited to participate in a limited BIMI pilot run by Google. Once the pilot program is complete, and any necessary changes made based upon the testing, VMCs will be issued to more domains and countries. At this point in time only pilot participants can obtain a VMC, and participation in the pilot is by invitation only.
So… for now… if you’ve published a self-asserted BIMI record, and haven’t been invited to participate in the Gmail pilot, you’re still ahead of the curve. If you send a large enough volume of non-spam email to consumers, your logo may be picked up and displayed by mailbox receivers such as Yahoo.
We encourage you to continue experimenting with self-asserted BIMI records and see how they work for your domains. You can also follow the increasing availability of BIMI in general, and VMCs in specific, by keeping an eye out for further announcements on the BIMI Group blog.