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What Is Rick Rolling?

May 12th, 2008

rick-roll.jpgAlthough I usually think of myself as being reasonably Internet savvy, the concept of rick rolling was one of those things that I never really understood until I read this article by Sarah Borrum in the Constant Content listings. Apparently the “rick roll” is a type of relatively harmless practical joke where visitors are tricked into clicking on a link that points to a Rick Astley music video. Personally, this does not seem very funny to me, although it does seem to have the effect of building more popularity for this Rick Astley fellow. If the risk of annoying visitors could be mitigated somehow, perhaps this could be used as a marketing ploy to promote another person or product of our choice.


“You got Rick Rolled!” is a common statement on the Internet. Forums, chat rooms and Web sites of all kinds are filled with Rick Rolls and posts about them.

What, you ask, is a Rick Roll?

Put simply: a Rick Roll is a seemingly innocent link, usually to a YouTube video. The person who posts the URL will claim that the link goes to something interesting. He might, for example, claim that you will see leaked video game or movie footage. That is just one of many creative stories, as many Rick Rollers are in on this little Web game.

So you click the link, thinking that you will see something cool.

Instead, you’re taken to a video of singer Rick Astley performing one of his soft-pop hits. Typically, the song is “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

If you click the link, then you’ve just been Rick Rolled. Some Internet users think that this is funny. Others are merely annoyed by the deception. Either way, Rick Rolling is currently a common Internet prank. You might as well accept the fact that the more time you spend online, the more likely you are to be a victim.

When you’re Rick Rolled, the finest revenge is to concoct a decent cover story to legitimize your own link to another Rick Roll. Avenging yourself is an upstanding tradition among Rick Rollers, so don’t be afraid to reciprocate with another Astley video.

Another thing to remember when you’re Rick Rolled is that it is considered proper to allow the link to continue tricking other users. Though many Internet users will comment in that thread or section that they’ve just been Rolled, there are also quite a few users who will maintain the link’s cover story even after they’ve become victims.

Example: If you’ve been told that the link takes you to a video of a new horror movie trailer, you can go back to the forum where it was posted and type, “Wow, that’s going to be great!” or something similar.

You can visit YouGotRickRolled.com for quick and easy links to Rick Astley videos to get you started on Rick Rolling. There are also plenty of Rick Astley videos on YouTube, many of which are commonly used for this type of practical joke.


Photo credit: Epixx at Flickr.com


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