Seth Blank Appointed Chair of Working Group Overseeing BIMI

Valimail’s Director of Industry Initiatives Brings Years of Experience and Dedication to Collaborative Solutions to Industry Group

Valimail, the world’s only provider of fully automated email authentication, announced today that Seth Blank, the company’s director of industry initiatives, has been named the chair of the AuthIndicators Working Group, a committee of companies working to create a richer, more trustworthy inbox experience for all email users worldwide while increasing the use of authentication to reduce email fraud.

The AuthIndicators Working Group is the creator of the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard, which entered a pilot phase earlier this year. BIMI provides a secure, global framework enabling email inboxes to display sender-designated logos for authenticated senders. It also includes strong protections to prevent senders from spoofing logos owned by other organizations.

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For instance, a bank could use BIMI to display its logo next to its messages — providing brand exposure as well as an assurance to recipients that the message really did come from that bank. BIMI will work only with email that has been authenticated through the Domain-based Message Authentication, Receiving & Conformance (DMARC) standard and for which the domain owner has specified a DMARC policy of enforcement (so only authenticated messages can be delivered).

The AuthIndicators project was founded in 2015 by Josh Aberant, who is now CMO of SparkPost, and now-Valimail CEO Alexander García-Tobar.

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“When we founded this working group, our aim was to create a vendor-neutral standard to drive adoption of email authentication, while providing deep value to email users and senders,” said Josh Aberant, the chief marketing officer of SparkPost and a co-founder of the AuthIndicators Working Group. “The goal is the creation of a standard with the scalability and robustness needed to reach mass market adoption. It’s been gratifying to see how much progress BIMI has made since 2015, and I look forward to seeing even wider adoption as work progresses.”

Valimail has been an avid supporter of BIMI since the company’s founding, and the company views contributing to the nonpartisan, vendor-neutral mission of AuthIndicators as an important corporate obligation that goes hand in hand with Valimail’s open source and standards work, which Blank also heads.

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Blank’s mission as the director of industry initiatives at Valimail is to strengthen and extend email authentication for the benefit of the entire ecosystem. In the past year he has played a key role in broad industry standards such as ARC, and has also contributed to collaborative work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Online Trust Alliance, and the Global Cyber Alliance, as well as M3AAWG, where he was recently named the co-chair of the Collaboration Committee.

As chairman of the AuthIndicators Working Group, Blank will help the organization drive broad adoption of BIMI in several ways:

  • Test, validate, and extend BIMI deployments in the real world;
  • Harden the security and anti-spoofing provisions of BIMI;
  • Advance BIMI through relevant standards processes.

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“Broad adoption of BIMI will deliver impressions and control for brands, and, through its tight coupling with DMARC, extend phishing protection for the benefit of the entire email ecosystem,” Blank said. “BIMI is an exciting case where marketers and security professionals are aligned. I’m excited for the potential of BIMI and grateful for the opportunity to help drive it forward.”

“BIMI’s goal is to improve the end-user experience while giving brands more control over how their logos are used. Ultimately, by connecting the dots between brands and consumers and providing a visible, visual indicator of authentication, this will enhance security for the overall email space,” said Marcel Becker, director product management at Oath.

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