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Internet Memes: Get Rickroll’d

Updated on February 16, 2009


I performed a mass rickroll for the first time sometime in early February 2009. I was on facebook and I had just been tagged by a ton of those “25 things about yourself things” in a row. You know that chain letter that’s going around. If you get tagged, you must write 25 random things about yourself then tag 25 people with it. Well, I got tired of it and decided to turn the chain letter on its head. I rickroll'd those suckers.

But before I can begin explaining the rickroll, you must

click here

for necessary background information on the meme or else you wont understand my explanation.

Have you heard of rickrolling before?

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The song that means so much to everybody

Did you click the link? Congratulations! You just got rickroll’d.

That is the essence of the joke. Someone gives you a link and instead of sending you where you’re supposed to go, it sends you to a video of Rick Astley’s 80’s pop hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The origins of the meme go back to the early days of the internet, people would prank each other by sending misleading links to shocking pornographic images. At some point, the shocking ceased to shock and the tactics were shifting into nonsequitor territory. A few years ago, it was the height of cool to trick people into going to a link that was simply a picture of a duck with wheels and calling it duckrolling. As in,” man, I thought I was about to see some really sexy girls but instead, I got duckroll’d.”

It’s not clear who first evolved the duckroll into the rickroll. Various internet forums from Gamefaqs to 4chan all claim responsibility. What matters is that by March, 2008, the meme was so popular that Sony had taken notice and sent a letter to Youtube requesting the takedown of all Rick Astley material.

What followed on April 1, 2008 is known as the April Fools Day Rickroll. Youtube, Livejournal and even Digg all jumped in and sent rickroll links to their viewers. This catapulted Rickrolling to popularity.

The meme is said to have peaked during the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. Rick Astley himself, on that day, appeared on an unrelated float and began singing his song, essentially rickrolling the entire parade and everyone watching it. These days, rickrolling has fallen in vogue. There still exist, however, large portions of the population who have never heard of rickrolling or been rickrolled. When I rickroll’d my 25 friends, only three had even heard of it before.

How to Rickroll

Should you exist in a population of freshly unrickrolled people and wish to try your hand at the internet’s most famous prank, here’s how you do it.

Go to a site called (or any web redirector for that matter. Tinyurl is easiest though). Type in: http://www. (your name) into the subject field. Then choose what you want the URL to be converted to.

So if your name is John Smith, convert into www.tinyurl/ Now you’re set. Give the new link to your friends and watch them scratch their heads in bafflement over your apparent computer wizardry.


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    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 7 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      I got rickrolled umpteen thousand times - from clicking a link to performing a Super Smash Bros. Brawl taunt glitch tutorial to the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! That makes me want to sing this when karaoke time comes around at the next party I attend!

    • profile image

      NeverGonnaGiveYouUp 8 years ago

      Never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry. Never gonna say goodbye! Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

    • The_Boss profile image

      The_Boss 8 years ago from CyberSpace

      BTW, your rickroll link doesn't work anymore =(

    • The_Boss profile image

      The_Boss 8 years ago from CyberSpace

      Wow great hub! I love Rickrolling people and disguising links so they look valid, then boom! Rickroll'd! I love it. Great stuff, keep it up!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 9 years ago from United States

      Freeze, you are so altruistic! An inspiration to us all!

    • FreezepopMorality profile image

      FreezepopMorality 9 years ago

      hee hee. And I assure you, my writing this article was in no way an attempt to increase the amount of people I've rickroll'd. It's purely for in for information purposes.

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 9 years ago from Madrid

      First time I ever hear about rickrolling ... first time I get rickrolled, too, you sneaky Freeze, you! :-)

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I am getting a real education, here -- this stuff is really neat (and yes, I'd never heard of rickrolling, and yes, I got rickrolled, you fiend!)

    • FreezepopMorality profile image

      FreezepopMorality 9 years ago

      Thanks, Christoph. Glad I could help!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 9 years ago from St. Louis

      I always enjoy your hubs. I always find the internet stuff facination, wondering how I missed it. Thanks for the education!