Rickrolling is a descendant of an older Internet joke called duckrolling. A Web site or blog post would offer a link to something popular — say celebrity photos or video gaming news — that led unsuspecting viewers to a bizarre image of a duck on wheels.
For rickrolling, the duck was replaced with the 20-year-old Astley video, and in the last year it has become a hugely successful “meme,” the Internet’s word for an idea repeated across the Web. The video from yougotrickrolled.com has been viewed more than seven million times.
The “Never Gonna Give You Up” video has been watched over a million times on YouTube — not bad for a song that last had heavy radio play in 1988, when it spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart of the top-selling singles.