BIMI: Fake it til you make it


Obtaining a VMC (Verified Mark Certificate) can be a hurdle for folks who want to implement a BIMI logo. You can proceed without it, but if you do, while your logo likely will show up in Yahoo Mail and Fastmail, but it isn't going to show up in Gmail, as Google has made a VMC cert a requirement for their BIMI installation.

If you don't have a VMC today -- here's how you can work around that, and implement a BIMI-like sender logo display for Fastmail, Yahoo and Gmail.

First, do set up a BIMI record, even though you don't have a VMC. Here are logo requirements, and here's what you need to setup the overall DNS record, including authentication-related prerequisites.

That'll cover you for Yahoo and Fastmail. Now, Gmail. Note that this Gmail workaround is NOT A BIMI LOGO -- I don't want anybody to get mad at me, thinking I'm trying to mislead anyone into thinking that this is BIMI. It is not. That's why I said "fake it" in the title!

To create that Gmail sender logo, you'll need these instructions that I put together back in 2018 after reading reading a tip from a gentleman named James Cridland. At the time, I wasn't really thinking about BIMI -- and Google+ was still a thing. Well, nowadays I've got BIMI on the brain, and Google+ is no more, but basically, those instructions still work. Create a Google account for your sending email address, walk through the set up process, and add your brand's logo as your profile picture for your Google account.

Brian Sisolak from PeakInbox has similar guidance, and he even offers up how you can use annotations to make the logo appear in the Primary Tab Teaser. Do check it out.

Keep in mind that with any sort of work around, this may not work forever. You probably do still need to get that VMC. Consider this "breathing room" to let you chase that down. While you do, use this process to get a sender logo to show up when sending to Gmail subscribers.

And keep in mind that this workaround is for Gmail (only). Indeed, Brian Sisolak had stumbled across a way to do something similar for Microsoft Outlook.com -- check it out here -- but that Microsoft workaround seems to no longer be an option as of early 2022.

So, to recap, if you want to do BIMI today but aren't ready to implement a VMC:

  1. Implement BIMI anyway -- for Yahoo and Fastmail support, since neither ISP requires a VMC today.
  2. Implement the Gmail workaround as described above.
  3. Lament that there's no good option for Microsoft today.
  4. Work on obtaining that VMC for the long term.

This is what I do today for Spam Resource. I've got a BIMI logo, it shows up just fine in Yahoo, but I use a Google account profile picture to provide my sender logo for sends to Gmail subscribers. And it works!

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