Differences Between Domain Name Registries and Domain Name Registrars
What is a "Registar"?
A registrar is the acting service that takes your registration information and reserves your domain from the main registry. A registrar can also be a reseller for a registrar who does this same service, but just in more behind the scenes steps. Registrars will usually advertise if they are accredited, but if they are not an official registry they are most likely a reseller for the accredited registrar.
What's is a "Registry" ?
To register a domain name, you will be asked to provide the registrar you select with the various contact and technical information that makes up the registration. The registrar will then keep records of the contact information and submit the technical information to a central directory known as the "registry." This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send you e-mail or to find your web site.
Are all advertised registration services legitimate "Registrars"?
Yes, and No. Only registrars accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are authorized to register .com, .net and .org names in the registry.
Some of these accredited registrars offer their services through resellers, which may provide assistance in completing the registration process. Your registration contract, however, will be with the accredited registrar and that registrar will maintain your contact information. Although many resellers are not accredited registrars themselves, they are resellers for accredited registrars and thus are legitmate.