By Daniel Hunter

One in five businesses have lost on on £30,000 as a result of malicious reviews and online trolls, according to a study.

The research by online reputation management firm Igniyte found that more than half of British businesses have been hit with unfounded reviews and online attacks.

Fifty-one per cent said they had been targeted by trolls or received unfair reviews. The study found that nearly 20% ended up paying £30,000 to put it right. And nearly a third (30%) spend between £11,000 and £20,000 a year on dealing with reviews and trolls.

These costs can come in the form of outsourcing reputation management, hiring an in-house social media manager or legal fees.

The majority of businesses that have received abuse have seen it on review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, and receive attacks from trolls on Twitter and Facebook.

Three quarters of those surveyed said online reviews were an important part of their business. And one in six said they can make or break a business.