An old meme becomes new again with a URL shortener that sometimes results in a Rickroll

A face that you may or may not want to see when you click on links.

Rickroll is a majestic and revered tradition. It’s an artifact of simpler times, when a solid internet meme might just be tricking someone into accidentally opening a video of a clean-dancing, deep-voiced ’80s pop star. Rickrolling, in 2021, now looks quaint.

And yet, as evidenced by the existence of a Rickrolling link-shortening site called Rroll.to – and the fact that “Never Gonna Give You Up” remains popular enough to have accumulated over a billion YouTube views) – there’s still enough life left in the old bait and switch to keep investing the internet in finding ways to use it to mildly annoy others.

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Rroll.to can be summed up quite easily by its slogan: “Short a link, roll your friends.” The site allows users to enter a URL, accept or adjust a default Rickrolling probability percentage of 50% to any other variable, and then receive a shortened link that may or may not end up redirecting to a pop star baritone singing about love.

To test this, we used the service to embed links to some of the The audiovisual clubThe Past Stories of Rick Astley. For example, this one about “Never Gonna Give You Up” became the opening credits for an anime that never was. Or this one on Astley gets Rickrolled by posting on Reddit.

In order to make the shortened links more usable, the site promises not to maintain the chances of hitting a Rickroll with each click on the URL. “Once someone has been Rickrolled by a particular link,” the site explains“they will no longer be Rickrolled by that link within the same browser session if they click it again.”

With this design choice, we believe the era of link shortening services like bit.ly has reached its natural conclusion and it’s time to adopt Rroll.to as the new standard.

[via Boing Boing]

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