eBay On Campus Bar Walker's West Rebrands To The Sellar

Liz Morton ~ Founder
Liz Morton ~ Founder


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ex-CEO Devin Wenig raised eyebrows back in 2019 when it was revealed he had converted a historic home on eBay's San Jose campus into a vanity project replica of his favorite New York bar in 2017.

The Little Blue House has an interesting history at eBay, previously being used for office space for PayPal and Skype teams as well as others throughout the years.

But apparently productive office space wasn't an exciting fit for the eBay Main Street project Wenig and his team envisioned, so in 2017, Hill House Construction was contracted to turn the historic house into a copy of Wenig's favorite Tribeca haunt.

Shortly after the project gained public scrutiny in 2019, Hill House removed all mention of it from their website, but luckily it was captured on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

EBAY WALKER’S WEST LOUNGE, SAN JOSE

  • Gensler Architects
  • Tenant improvement to convert on campus historic house from office to lounge space
  • Commissioned by CEO to replicate a known NYC restaurant
  • Custom tin ceiling with intricate can lighting cutouts and LED lit perimeter crown molding
  • New bar counter build out with custom mirrors and lighting
  • High end finishes and detailed elements for historical accuracy throughout

The existence of Walker's West had flown under the radar for several years but came under scrutiny in 2019 as eBay had faced layoffs the year before, growing seller complaints about glitches and technical problems on the site and increasing fees, and most importantly activist investor pressure to streamline operations from Elliott Management and Starboard Value.

In a January 2019 letter to eBay's board of directors, Elliott Management said:

Today eBay suffers from an inefficient organizational structure, wasteful spend and a misallocation of resources. By increasing operational efficiency, eBay can free up capital to invest in capability- and revenue-enhancing activities.

All of that led many to wonder - was an on campus bar really the best use of eBay's resources?

A tweet from then Khoros CMO Katherine Calvert particularly gained interest as Khoros is the provider of the software eBay uses to host and manage their community forums.

Re: Did You Know eBay Built A Lavish NYC Pub Style Lounge?
“Today eBay suffers from an inefficient organizational structure, wasteful spend and a misallocation of resources. By increasing operational efficiency, eBay can free up capital to invest in capability- and revenue-enhancing activities.” Sounds like ebay needs to hire these guys:

Walker's West and eBay's corporate culture in general again came under scrutiny after the shocking cyberstalking and harassment scandal that targeted critics of the company in 2019 came to light, with both criminal and civil cases being opened in June 2020.

eBay No White Knight As Ex Security Director Pleads Guilty To Stalking
Former eBay Security Director Jim Baugh pleads guilty in bizarre stalking scandal that targeted bloggers.

During sentencing for his role in the scandal in 2021, former eBay security manager Philip Cooke tried to use alcoholism and a "culture of heavy drinking at the company" as a mitigating factor for his criminal behavior.

Ex-eBay Exec Sentenced In Stalking Seeks Early Release
Ex-eBay Security Exec sentenced in stalking scandal seeks early release citing medical issues & harsh prison conditions.

Meanwhile, Wenig appears to have little remorse for the cultural tone he set during his tenure and can still be found joking about 9 AM tequila shot "smoothies" on Twitter.


After all the bad press and the still ongoing civil litigation that could possibly result in multi-million dollar damages, one might think the best move new CEO Jamie Iannone could have made would've been to revert the Little Blue House back to productive office space and send a clear, unambiguous message that the culture at eBay was going to undergo a radical change from his predecessor.

However, it appears instead eBay has opted for a quiet rebranding, keeping the happy hour vibe intact with a cutesy new name that is presumably a play on words for where one might keep their wine collection - The Sellar.

It's not clear exactly when the name change happened, but it appears The Sellar is alive and well and a very popular hangout for remote staff visiting the home office, according to LinkedIn.


What do you think of the rebranded on campus eBay bar? Nice perk for hard working employees or in poor taste considering its history? Let us know in the comments below!

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