ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has overall responsibility for managing the DNS. It controls the root domain, delegating control over each top-level domain to a domain name registry. For ccTLDs, the domain registry is typically controlled by the government of that country. ICANN has a consultation role in these domain registries but is in no position to regulate the terms and conditions of how a domain name is allocated or who allocates it in each of these country level domain registries. On the other hand, generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are governed directly under ICANN which means all terms and conditions are defined by ICANN with the cooperation of the gTLD registries.
Domain names which are theoretically leased can be considered in the same way as real estate, due to a significant impact on online brand building, advertising, search engine optimization, etc.
A few companies have offered low-cost, below-cost or even free domain registrations, with a variety of models adopted to recoup the costs to the provider. These usually require that domains are hosted on their site in a framework or portal, with advertising wrapped around the user's content, revenue from which allows the provider to recoup the costs. When the DNS was new, domain registrations were free. A domain owner can generally give away or sell infinite subdomains of their domain, e.g. the owner of example.edu could provide domains that are subdomains, such as foo.example.edu and foo.bar.example.edu.