By Joel Wilson
Have you ever been on the internet and clicked on a link that said something along the lines of: “OMG WOW YOU WON FREE MONEY PLS CLICK HERE FOR FREE MONEY”, only to be greeted by a gif (gif: a moving picture or a clip short) of a man eating ice-cream off his own body while the tune of True by Spandau Ballet plays softly in the background? Well you have the Rickroll to thank for that.
The Rickroll is a well-known internet hoax in which something is falsely advertised (such as free money as mentioned above) which when clicked on activated a video of Rick Astley’s 1987 song Never Gonna Give You Up and thus, Rickrolling was born.
Rickrolling can be traced all the way back to 2007 (which is more like 700 years in internet time) to the 4chan video games board where someone posted an apparent video of the GTA IV trailer. The game was only teased (speculated) at that point and many people clicked on it hoping to see the first glimpse of a new age revolutionary video game. Instead, they were greeted by a video of Rick Astley shuffling to the sound of a familiar 80’s tune.
Rickrolling was influenced by another similar internet hoax known as ‘duckrolling’, where a person would click on a video or link only to be greeted by a picture of a duck with wheels for feet (I know, the internet is a strange place). That person would then be duckrolled.
Rickrolling had a profound effect on the internet community as well as Rick Astley himself, citing that Rickrolling reignited his singing career (even though he only received about $12 in royalties from the YouTube videos). Rickrolling has also been used in real life demonstrations such as Scientology Protests as well as other events such as the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade where a live Rickroll occurred, with Astley himself making an appearance.
Here you are then. Keep an eye out for the moves on the bartender.