First Recorded "Rickroll"

Rickrolling is an Internet meme typically involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a web link that he or she claims is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been "Rickrolled" (also spelled Rickroll'd).

The practice is said to have begun as a variant of an earlier prank from the imageboard 4chan known as duckrolling, in which a link to somewhere (such as a specific picture or news item) would instead lead to a thread or site containing an edited picture of a duck with wheels. The user at that point is said to have been "duckrolled".

The first known instance of Rickroll occurred in May 2007 on /v/, 4chan's video game board, where a link to the Rick Astley video was claimed to be a mirror of the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV (which was unavailable due to heavy traffic). The joke was confined to 4chan for a very brief period.

By May 2008, the practice had spread beyond 4chan and become an Internet phenomenon, eventually amassing some coverage in the mainstream media. An April 2008 poll by SurveyUSA estimated that at least 18 million American adults had been Rickrolled.