As with so many stupid internet fads, the rick-roll trend had its start at 4chan, a message-board whose lunatic, juvenile community is at once brilliant, ridiculous and alarming. 4chan users had taken to "duck-rolling" each other - tricking one-another into viewing a video of a, er, duck with wheels. In the spring of 2007 some enterprising prodigy branched off from this into the rick-roll. And the rest is history.
The internet began to swarm with rick-rollers - from Slashdot to the World of Warcraft, and certainly to Wikipedia. At YouTube, one posting of the video has had more than seven million views since last May; you can be assured that few of these were intentional. There are online databases of fake rick-roll URLs, and countless jokers have created sham web-browser plugins purporting to block rick-rolls while instead sending visitors to you-know-what.