Having given it a bit of thought, I think I've decided that the new way of recruiting for societies, might actually work out better for two reasons.
1) The students seem to be greatly more inclined to hand over email addresses than cash. This enables those that want to join but aren't sure, or don't have the money to turn up to the first meeting and see what the society is all about first and then decide.
2) With no chance of brow beating, the weak willed folk who'll join anything if they're asked nicely won't sign up at the Fayre. Only the really dedicated will join up there and then.
So combined, that should mean that most societies will end up with a much larger core of active members. Obviously the "film soc" effect will screw things up for such societies though.