Brand Indicator for Message Identification (BIMI)

Email Marketing is a channel which has long been used by brands to communicate and strengthen relations with their customers. Not only is it used for increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty, but it is also widely used lead and revenue generation purposes and it is increasingly being used by a range of companies to provide service announcements and updates.

As a channel, email has gone from strength to strength in recent years: in 2019 there were 3.9 billion email users around the globe and this number is expected to climb to 4.48 billion by 2024.

This increase in users has not gone unnoticed by criminals and fraudsters who have long been attempting to acquire users’ personal and sensitive information via email phishing and spoofing for criminal activities. Unfortunately, phishing attempts are becoming increasingly sophisticated and it can be challenging to understand when an email is genuine or not.

This means that there is an increased need for email systems to implement secure email protocols, ensuring that users’ data is respected and protected, and that brands are able to protect their reputation and guard against spoofing attempts.

The basic protocols that govern email delivery have not been updated for quite some time: these include the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) dating back to 1982 and its latest version RFC 5321, updated in 2008.

Both now have limitations in terms of digital security because they were programmed at a time when the number of email users was much smaller and phishing attempts were relatively rare and unsophisticated.

Spam, Phising & Spoofing

Phishing and spoofing attempts are unfortunately becoming increasingly more widespread in the digital sphere, and most people have probably had to deal with spam, phishing and spoofing at least once.

These attempts are becoming increasingly sophisticated as fraudsters attempt to take advantage of those who are not tech-savvy and exploit those who are considered to be more vulnerable to spotting these phishing attempts. It is easy for recipients to believe that the communication is from a genuine brand requesting or asking them to update their account details.

Unfortunately, these attempts can have a devastating impact when users enter their login credentials or even their credit card details and lead to customers becoming reluctant to engage with brands online in the future.

As wider society moves towards a digital-first outlook, this could have damaging repercussions for brands who fail to consider and implement ways in which to overcome these issues.

How can I improve the security of my Emails?

In order to protect your users against spam and phishing attempts, while increasing your visibility in their inbox, and in turn increasing open rates, it is essential to adopt specific security protocols that protect your emails and allow your users to recognise them, with clear advantages in terms of brand authority.

One of the main internationally recognised security protocols is the DMARC authentication system.

DMARC is a protocol that performs a cross-check between the sender’s domain and the name that appears in the email header (the so-called “From:”).

In order for your emails to be certified with the highest possible level of security, the DMARC protocol must have some precise features, in particular:

“p=quarantine” or “p=reject”

These two tags mean that when the recipient’s email server receives an unsafe email, it either sends it directly into the spam box or rejects it. When the tag is “p = none” instead, it means that the server does not take any action for messages that do not pass authentication, which are then delivered normally to the recipients’ inbox even though they are not secure.

“pct =100”

The Pct is a tag in the DMARC record that indicates the percentage of messages sent from your domain to which you implement the protocol. The value must be a number between 1 and 100. When it is =100 it means that it is applied on the on the whole of your emails.

There are also two other authentication protocols:

1. The SPF (Sender Policy Framework) with which the domain owner establishes the IP addresses authorised to send emails on his/her behalf.

2. DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) which provides the equivalent of a digital signature authenticated by the domain.

The frequent occurrence of spam, phishing and spoofing has also led the leading players in the industry to mobilise themselves to increase email security levels and make the protocols more and more efficient.

Google is certainly one of the key figures in the constant enforcement of digital security systems. It is also one of the first that has decided to support the BIMI Email Authentication System, one of the most anticipated technologies on the horizon in the field of email marketing for the diffusion of secure email on a global scale.

Gmail (Google’s mail server) has already implemented the project in its experimental phase.

What is BIMI Email Authentication System?

BIMI is an acronym for Brand Indicators for Message Identification and indicates an IT protocol that enables you to display your company logo next to the email preview in your recipients’ email inboxes.

This innovative system not only improves the everyday use of email, but it also benefits the wider email marketing industry, which measures a large part of its success on deliverability and open rates.

The first results of BIMI were seen in 2019: in Verizon’s test project, there was a 10% increase in email open rates.

The BIMI Email Authentication System ensures that users are always able to identify and verify that the emails received are from a genuine brand.

In short: less risk for users, but more trust on their part.

And every company knows how customer’s trust in its brand is the first step in order to establish profitable relationships in terms of value.

Not only does BIMI allow you to display your company logo, but it also ensures its correct management.

Indeed, not having a standardised protocol for displaying logos within emails means that every email provider must have a specific system for checking and displaying logos. A system that is often demanding, expensive and difficult to manage univocally.

By adopting the BIMI Email protocol, each company can autonomously manage its logo in a simple way, lightening the work of the mail providers.

How does BIMI allow me to send safer emails?

By adopting BIMI, not only are you able to you communicate better with your customers through the ability to display the logo as part of your email marketing campaigns, but you also ensure that the highest global safety standards are adopted.

In order to implement BIMI, your domain must be previously certified for the use of DMARC, SPF and DKIM protocols.

Domains that attempt to circumvent computer security systems through phishing can easily falsify the sender’s name, but not the logo. And it is from this assumption that the idea of BIMI was born.

Since the logo does not currently appear in emails, defrauding brands is relatively easy for experienced hackers. With the implementation of domain certification this will not be possible anymore, and thanks to cross-checks on the codes of the authentication protocols, fraud is easily recognised and prevented.

This process can seem complicated and it cannot be denied that acquiring these security systems can take some time to become effective. Being aware and informed about how to obtain them, however, is the first step.

To know if your company is already in line with the security protocols required by BIMI, the Development Team has made available on the official website a free test, which you can do at any time.

How can I obtain BIMI Email Certification?

The BIMI Email Authentication System in its beta phase has already been implemented by some big well-known entities such as Yahoo!, AOL, Netscape, Fastmail and Google.

For this reason we are currently preparing to implement the BIMI Email Authentication System within our Multichannel Platform to allow our customers to adopt this important certification in terms of security for their email marketing campaigns.

Our Support Team will accompany you by providing you with the information you will need during the different stages of the BIMI process:

1. Conversion of your company logo into the required SVG format

2. DNS record implementation

3. Update of DMARC, SPF and DKIM security systems

Why choose rdcom?

For over 20 years, rdcom has always been committed to providing effective and authoritative communication tools, keeping up to date with new technologies in order to offer its customers the most competitive services on the market. Moreover:

  • Our products are represented by software running on Cloud Infrastructure.
  • Our Datacentres are among the most secure and reliable on the market
  • We implement the synergy between servers and applications to support the messaging services that we offer. In creating them we pay particular attention to speed, precision and security, always safeguarding the privacy of the data processed.
  • Our Multichannel Platform has strict anti-spam control rules that it applies to provide the best results to its customers in terms of deliverability and open rate.