Users often try adding every spam sender to their Blocked Sender List and quickly run into the 500 address limit. Then they ask why they can't add more. There are two reasons, but the main one is that we haven't done a good enough job of educating users about the purpose of the Blocked Sender List, and what it can and can't do for them.
Adding every individual sender of a spam message to your Blocked Sender List is a losing battle and will never be successful at controlling spam. The majority of spam has random From addresses and made-up domains, and the return address is almost always bogus. A lot of the worst fraudsters will actually use harvested "real" addresses for their From address, that go back to some unsuspecting user. So adding these bogus addresses to the Blocked Sender List is unlikely to block any subsequent spam. You will run through 500 one-time throwaway addresses in a very short time, and your list will be full but won't be doing anything to control spam.
There are however, "honest" spammers (relatively speaking) that do use real addresses, and these are usually marketing companies or web sites that have you on their mailing list and don't make it easy for you to get off their list. Or perhaps they bought your email address in a bulk mailing list and never really had your permission to send solicitations to you. These are the kind of senders that you can effectively stop by using the Block List. They use a real return address, they have a legitimate web site, but you just don't want to be on their mailing list anymore. For this reason, when you click on the This Is Spam button, we give you the option to automatically add the sender's domain to your Block List. So if you are getting email from BigWebSiteStore-dot-com then just use the automatic option to block the domain. This will be more effective, and use a lot less entries, than blocking individual addresses. You should first try to use their unsubscribe link, which really honest marketers provide in any message they send out.
You can also effectively use the block list if there is a specific known sender you want to block, one that you know is using a real email address. To do this, you'll have to go directly to the Block List page by clicking on Spamblocker then Settings, or by clicking Preferences then Blocked Sender List.
I said there was a second reason for the limit, and it has to do with maintaining good performance for all users. We accept over 100 million incoming messages a day (thousands every second at times), and that is not counting the many known spammers that we block by IP number and don't accept their email at all. Even with our limit of 500 for your Blocked Sender List, if all users had a list of 500, and we had to process every single incoming message through this filter to make a delivery decision, the system would slow down a lot. Not all users use the feature, but it is easy to see that the larger the list, the slower all incoming email will be for everyone, and in fact the queue could back up to the point that messages couldn't be delivered. If we allowed large list sizes, then everyone would suffer and the larger lists still wouldn't be much of a benefit.
If you want a much more effective way to control all spam, then consider using spamBlocker set to High. This uses the reverse of a Block List, and instead uses what we call an Allow List. At this time, your Allow List is equal to the list of contacts in your Address Book. So you can allow any sender by adding them to your Address Book. The default setting in your Preferences is to automatically prompt you to add all addresses to your Address Book when you send a message to them or reply to them. For those who send to you first, they get an autoreply (which you can customize) to fill out a one-time form asking to be added to your list, and you will then get a request in your Inbox to add them and allow their messages.
Learn more about using spamBlocker on High here.
In the near future we'll be separating the Allow List and the Address Book contact list, so that you can manage them independently. I also would like to add the ability to block top-level domains, so you could block all messages coming from some remote country you never heard of. And I'd like to add things like being able to sort and manage your list more effectively, automatically remove addresses in a domain you subsequently add, and more. These things are on the list, and hopefully we'll get to them. Other suggestions are welcome.