Man sets up Rick Astley hotline to rescue people from annoying salespeople

  • 07/01/2018
A still from the music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.
A still from the music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. Photo credit: YouTube

A Melbourne-based man has devised the perfect plan to avoid repeated calls from salespeople and loyalty schemes - Rickrolling hotlines.

Rickrolling is a bait-and-switch prank featuring the 1987 Rick Astley song 'Never Gonna Give You Up' popping up in an unexpected place. The joke was first made popular via internet memes in 2008.

Developer Paul Fenwick created the hotline in 2016 as a fun joke while working out how to use VoIP software.

He reminded Twitter of its existence on Friday, telling users to use them for "paperwork, loyalty schemes and general joy ".

There is a line for New Zealand (09) 886 0565, Australia +61 (03) 8652 1453, the United Kingdom +44 (11) 7325 7425 and the US +1 (760) 706 7425.

Speaking to a developers conference in August 2017, Mr Fenwick said the hotline costs around US$200 (NZD$279) a year to run, but the cost is well worth it.

Since being launched the lines have received thousands of calls a month, either from Astley fans or jokers giving out the phone number.

Mr Fenwick said he set up the line as a public good but now bumps into people on the street who say they use the hotline for filling in forms or as a joke.

He has uploaded the software he used to create the hotline to GitHub in the hopes other developers will create their own hotline.