Lauren Rabaino

I got “rickrolled” last week and apparently I’m not alone. I attempted to click on a link posted on a blog and was redirected to the music video for pop-sensation Rick Astley’s ’80s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” More than 18 million Americans have experienced the Internet phenomenon known as the “rickroll,” according to SurveyUSA. That’s a little more than 15 percent of the population of the United States!

It all started 10 months ago when an anti-scientology group began posting links of the 1987 hit disguised as normal click-throughs all over the Web. Anyone who clicked on one of these links was redirected to Astley’s video on YouTube.

From there, it’s only history. Rickrolling gained momentum and soon other Internet users copied the technique, sending more and more unaware Web surfers to the young, suave, denim-clad singer.

The first time I was rickrolled, I was confused.

The second time I was entertained.

But after three times of being the victim of an unwanted rickroll, I was ready to call Web surfing quits.

What makes it worse is that “Never Gonna Give You Up” ranks second behind “Red Red Wine” by UB40 on my list of most hated songs of all time. And that’s saying a lot. Anyone who knows me can vouch for my intense dislike of “Red Red Wine.”

After three rickrolls, and the consideration of modifying my most hated song list to reflect my current annoyance with Astley, I am curious about the aggravating trend. Why Astley? Why “Never Gonna Give You Up”? For anyone like me who has forcibly experienced Astley’s gem of a music video, I’m sure you asked yourself the same questions. In the ’80s video, Astley snaps his fingers and smiles at the camera as two blonde dancers swirl around him in attire that thankfully stayed locked in the ’80s with Astley himself. But now, with the advent of a massive prank, Astley has broken free; the barriers keeping ’80s musicians from the modern world have opened.

To those who aren’t expecting it, “Never Gonna Give You Up” elicits a few laughs. But for veteran navigators of the Internet, Astley’s lyrics get old fast. Some surfers are taking action, motivated by the incessant rickroll links they are tripping over online. Aggravated victims of the “roll” can log on to the Rickroll Database (www.rickrolldb.com) and submit URLs under the tagline “Saving the Internet . one roll at a time.”

Beyond the average Web surfer getting the “roll,” the growing prank has transpired to fool even the largest of corporations. The New York Times and a college basketball team were both victims of the unprecedented rickroll. Even more astonishing, the New York Mets were hit hard with a rickroll, motivated by more 5 million Phillies fans who left other Major League Baseball fans laughing all the way to home plate.

If you haven’t experienced the rickroll already, expect it soon. It is just a matter of time before Astley and his cringe-worthy melody get you too. As for me, I’ll be glad when the trend ends. Astley has overstayed his welcome as far as I’m concerned, and I’m ready for him to go back to the ’80s and stay there.

Taylor Moore is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily current events columnist.

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