I'm guessing at the end of the day, it's the community of cool people that make us hang around, not all those cash features. stare
Me thinks that the brains behind Gaia have shifted their priorities; rather than try to seduce the non-paying veterans into becoming buyers of Gaia Cash (which I see as a luxury reward for the supremely loyal) they're basically focusing on their existing base of regular buyers. Which in turn becomes a hard-selling tactic for newcomers to pressure them into buy Gaia Cash right from the get go. A rather unsavory tactic if you ask me.