>>367256>It WAS my understanding that GoDaddy simply was a "registrar" that connected people to ICANN's domain registration system
ICANN doesn't have a domain registration system. It's a quango that regulates "registry operators" like Verisign; these operators provide the top-level DNS for whatever TLD.
Registrars batch up registrations and payments to make the operator's life easier, and are obliged to provide their own DNS servers to spread the load.>>367430> if you hosted a site from your own personal homemade server, you'd still never really be "independent" because the registrar could revoke your ability to be DNS configured
IP addresses aren't exactly snappy, and it would mean you could never move host ever. So you've exchanged a DNS registrar that can remove you from the internet at any time for an ISP that can remove you from the internet at any time.
Depending on the registry operator, a hostile registrar can effectively exclude you from a TLD, because you have to go through them to register and even if you didn't, you don't have a DNS server and the operator wouldn't point to it even if you had one. Verisign works like that: they don't give two fucks about you if you're not a registrar, and if you have a problem on .com, .net, or .tv, you have to get ICANN to intervene between you and your registrar.
Other registry operators act more like a big dog: if you're willing to pay Nominet for their time, they'll happily slam your domain to another registrar, or even renew it themselves bypassing the registrars entirely. This isn't cheap, however: it's a deliberate fuckoff price so if you don't have a problem that needs them to get involved, you'll go through a registrar like a normal person.