Rickrolling: A Timeline

On April 1, Rickrolling became Public Enemy No. 1 to those devoted to serious Internet browsing. Since it’s always best to understand one’s enemy — and since tracking the evolution of this meme is a challenge worth undertaking — we thus present:

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Rickrolling: A Timeline

1969: First message is sent via ARPANET (precursor of the Internet).

1987: Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up hits Number 1 in the United Kingdom.

2005: YouTube lauches online.


June 20, 2006
: First appearance of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up video (as dubbed from VH1’s Pop-Up Video) appears on YouTube, uploaded by user belgianpassion. (As of April 2008, it has been viewed nearly 1.2 million times.)

March 29, 2007: The launch of the first official trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV. When heavy site traffic makes the video unavailable, a user on the Internet board 4chan changes the GTAIV link to the video for Never Gonna Give You Up. The Encyclopedia Dramatica pinpoints this as the first use of the Rickroll.

May 2007: “Rick Rolling” first begins to appear in Google Trends searches.

May 28, 2007: “Official” You’ve Been RickRoll’d! upload of Never Gonna Give You Up appears online, courtesy of YouTube user YouGotRickRolled. As of April 2008, it has reached nearly 9 million views.

June 15, 2007: Wigantoday.net declares that “the Astley backlash is beginning.” Rickrolling is thus officially here to stay.

January 25, 2008: RickRolling the Baby is uploaded.

March 17, 2008: NextNewNetworks’ Tim Shey is Rickrolled live by Rocketboom’s Kenyatta Cheese.

March 24, 2008: The New York Times covers Rickroll in full.

March 28, 2008: LA Times’ David Sarno humanizes the Rickroll when he interviews Rick Astley. Astley considers the meme “hilarious.”

April 1, 2008: Every featured video on the front page of YouTube is a Rickroll.

???, The Future: We look back and wonder, why?


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